There are ever increasing number of children and adults living with long term conditions today. It is estimated that nearly 150 million children suffer from and are coping with a chronic condition or a disability (Landgren,1997). While many countries are now waking up to developing health care programs for those with chronic conditions, the initiative has been rather delayed. For example, it was only in 2007 that the United States government heard a legislative bill, namely the Chronic Care Coordination Act. This act was mainly focused on providing health care to individuals who were living with chronic conditions and would need medical care for the rest of their lives.
During the hearing very many myths were also exposed as to why long term conditions did not earlier merit special attention. In the past it was understood that chronic conditions were only health problems of the elderly and in particular of males, among other reasons. However with growing evidences of children and women being identified with chronic conditions, there is fresh impetus for the various health care groups, insurance companies and governments to increase spending on research and development of programs for these patients.
Apart from public opinion, the fact that there is a shortfall of medical professionals and health care personnel to care for these patients is another reason why long term conditions are a high priority (Reference)(.DOH 2004b,White, Forbes,2004)
More and more families are now looking for support towards the care of children with chronic conditions, only to find themselves doing most of the care taking. Most of these children are dependent on technology and surgical interventions like tracheotomy for survival.(DOH 2004b, White Forbes Ullman, Lewis, Mathis, Griffiths, 2004). With long term survival rates increasing, families face a host of difficulties caring for them.
This is where a crisis develops. Many families find it difficult to cope with the apparent lack of medical staff, funding, equipment, collaboration between services, training,(Hewitt- Taylor,2005) education and government inertia. While health care institutions have various practices in place for elderly suffering with long term conditions , very little is done for children. Since their needs and requirements are quite different from adults different practices should be put in place to address the issues of children, including aspects of nutrition, hygiene, counseling and education.
Need to be clearer about client group -My client group is children as I work in Alder hey hospital
In order to better understand the scenario lets look at the a particular condition called tracheolmalacia in children. Tracheomalacia is a condition when the cartilage of the trachea is inadequately developed as in type 1, degeneration of cartilage occurs as in type 2 or breakdown of cartilage takes place due to prolonged intubation as in type 3.