Exploring the notion of technologically dependent children: Findings from a review of the literature
Background: Literature has highlighted various effects that technologically dependent children have on their parents and the healthcare system. In this review article, we explored the challenges associated with raising such children as well as the impact that they may have on those around them and the healthcare system. Method: We searched databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline CINHAL Plus, and Science Direct. Scientific papers published in English between 2010 and 2018 pertaining to technology-dependent children were selected for inclusion. We reviewed 13 primary research articles relevant to the topic of interest. Results: The findings revealed that technological dependence alters the lifestyle of both children and their families. The life of these children and their parents is different when compared to those who are not dependent on medical technology since parents and siblings have to plan their daily routines based on the needs of the technology-dependent children. Parents described playing both parenting and nursing roles in taking care of these children and changing their home environment to a ‘mini-hospital’ when it came to providing medical care to these children. The responsibilities associated with the care of ventilator-dependent children changed drastically when the mothers took over from the care-giving nurses. Conclusion: Technological dependence is crucial in shaping the lifestyles and routine activities of families, mainly parents, and siblings of these children. It also has a significant impact on the responsibilities that the family members, especially mothers have to fulfill in providing home-based medical care to their children. Additionally, when nurses were inquired about transitioning care from hospital to homes and preparing mothers for home care, they reported finding it hard to trust the mothers to provide the same level of medical care in the homes as they did in the hospital.
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