Foster Caregiver Experience of Pediatric Hospital-to-Home Transitions: A Qualitative Analysis.

Document Type


Publication Date



Pediatrics; Medical Education

Journal Title

Academic Pediatrics

MeSH Headings

Foster Home Care; Caregiver Attitudes; Pediatric Care; Hospitals, Pediatric; Patient Discharge; Transitional Care; Human; Qualitative Studies; Child; Treatment Outcomes; Semi-Structured Interview; Telephone; Thematic Analysis; Audiorecording; Female; Whites; Stakeholder Participation; Communication; Support Groups; Child: 6-12 years; Female


OBJECTIVE: Children entering foster care after discharge from the hospital are at risk for adverse events associated with the hospital-to-home transition. Education of foster caregivers regarding transitional care needs is key. However, little is known about the unique needs of foster caregivers as they transition from hospital to home with a new foster child or how hospital-based health care teams can better support foster caregivers. We aimed to examine the experiences and preferences of foster caregivers' regarding hospital-to-home transitions of children newly discharged into their care and to identify opportunities for inpatient providers to improve outcomes for these children. METHODS: We conducted semistructured telephone interviews of foster caregivers who newly assumed care of a child at the time of hospital discharge between May 2016 and June 2017. Interviews were continued until thematic saturation was reached. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed to identify themes using a general inductive approach. RESULTS: Fifteen interviews were completed. All subjects were female, 87% were Caucasian, and 73% were first-time foster caregivers. Thirteen themes were identified and grouped into the following domains: 1) knowing the child, 2) medicolegal issues, 3) complexities of multistakeholder communication, and 4) postdischarge preparation and support. CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers of children newly entering foster care following hospital discharge face unique challenges and may benefit from enhanced care processes to facilitate successful transitions. Hospitalization provides an opportunity for information gathering and sharing, clarification of custodial status, and facilitation of communication among multistakeholders, including child protective services and biological parents.


Michael Delucia- Resident

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