5 Tips for Long-Term Care of a Child with Disabilities
The Becker Law Firm has a rich history of helping clients seek justice in complex birth injury cases and knows families have many concerns about being able to provide the care their children require. These concerns are magnified when injuries result in lasting disabilities and a lifetime of extra needs.
Because the need to care for a disabled child can persistinto adulthood and potentially after the passing of their parents, families face many important decisions when it comes to planning for long-term success.
To help you along this journey, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips.
1. Know the Diagnosis
Understanding your child’s condition will help you provide the care they need and make the right decisions for long-term planning.
The best place to start is your child’s doctor and specialists. Have them explain the diagnosis and what it means for your child as they grow and develop, and ask as many questions as you can. You can use this information to do research of your own or connect with others in similar situations for more insight.
Some questions that can help you better understand your child’s diagnosis and needs:
- How will my child’s diagnosis affect their development and ability to care for themselves?
- What are the complications, symptoms, or side-effects associated with the diagnosis?
- What are the treatments, therapies, or medications for this diagnosis?
- What types of modifications will I need to make to my home or lifestyle to help my child?
Because children who suffer birth injuries may have multiple diagnoses, it’s important to speak with your doctor to gain a full understanding of each diagnosis and how they may affect one another.
2. Know Your Child’s Needs
This goes beyond knowing your child’s diagnosis, and may include things like your child’s unique routine, likes or dislikes, learning disabilities, physical limitations, and more.
Knowing your child’s special needs can help you better find the care and support they need, whether it be from certain types of therapists, special accommodations in school or sports, or how you and your child’s caregivers engage in day-to-day activities. It can also help you make a plan for the future based on what works best for your child as they age.
3. Know Your Caregiving Team
Depending on your child’s disabilities and needs, your caregiving team can include any number of doctors, specialists, therapists, or caseworkers. While these caregivers may change over time, it’s important to understand their role and how their work helps your child and to choose caregivers with the experience and demeanor that work best for your child and your family.
Interviews and consultations are a great way to vet caregiver candidates. A few important considerations include:
- A caregiver’s experience and education and how well they match your child’s needs.
- Whether caregivers have special certifications or skills that relate to your child’s situation.
- A caregiver’s demeanor, patience, and passion for the work they do.
- Staff-to-patient ratios, curriculums and care plans, activities, and supervision.
- References and reviews for individual caregivers and facilities.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also want to have a health care professional who “leads” the team. This could be your child’s pediatrician or a care coordinator who helps review all tests and treatments and helps you understand the big picture. You’ll want someone who is accessible, willing to answer your questions, and good at explaining how all the pieces fit into the overall care plan.
While having parents or family members care for a child can be helpful, you’ll want to consider the emotional and financial demands that come with it. Your child’s unique needs and your situation will ultimately determine how much family care can supplement care provided by professionals.
4. Explore Other Resources for Support
In addition to finding the right caregiving team for your child’s needs, you can also explore other resources that benefit your child. This can include:
- Support groups for parents and families
- Non-profits that provide resources and support
- Schools, sports, youth programs, and extracurricular activities
- Government services
These types of resources can be invaluable in helping families find needed resources, a system of support, and a sense of community that provide unique and enriching experiences for their child.
5. Consider Your Finances
Caring for a child with disabilities has long-term financial implications. And while funds obtained through a settlement and verdict are meant to cover costs, it is still important to consider the financial aspects of your child’s care and the long-term plan.
While it goes beyond the scope of our work as attorneys to give financial advice, there are many resources and professionals who can help you better understand your financial picture in the context of your child’s condition and needs. Some general considerations you’ll want to address include:
- The costs of care, special education, therapies, and accommodations over the course of your child’s life and what you can afford, both now and in the future.
- The availability of government or non-profit support.
- Financial tools and plans to ensure money intended to support your child stays safe.
- Ensuring the availability of funds to support your child in the event that you pass before them.
Legal Support for Birth Injury Victims Nationwide
The Becker Law Firm is a nationally recognized trial practice that has recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for families in high-stakes birth injury claims. We are passionate about the work we do and have the experience and resources to help families pursue needed compensation for both past losses and expected future needs.
If you have questions about a birth injury case, our team is here to help. We offer free consultations and serve birth injury clients throughout Ohio and the U.S. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.