Patient Education and Support

Care Notebooks

PA Brochure

Glossary

The PA Family

When PA strikes, the entire family feels the impact.

  • Parents first cope with feelings of disbelief, hurt, and anger, which soon evolve into the daily physical and emotional stresses of caring for a very fragile child.
  • Parent work schedules may have to be adjusted or other arrangements need to be made for childcare at home and in the hospital.
  • Siblings often feel anger and resentment as busy and tired parents have less time for them.   They also may have mixed feelings when their sister or brother is in the hospital and they are missing a parent or staying with friends or relatives.     ” It’s hard when Bella vomits, because my mom is stressed out very much. It’s hard when Bella is in the hospital because my mom has to stay with her and I miss them very much. I love Bella and I want her to be always healthy.”  –  Luke 8, brother of Isabella 2
  • Infections, such as a common cold, can result in a hospital visit.  Every unscheduled hospital stay is terrifying as the outcome could mean organ damage or death.  The family has to make decisions on which holidays and family events are “safe” to bring their child.
  • Family outings and vacations are affected by the PA child’s condition and special precautions may need to be taken.
  • The family kitchen soon becomes a laboratory for precisely weighing and measuring their medically prescribed low protein formula.
  • The daily schedule is focused around the feeding schedule.
  • Financial strains are felt by the family, because of extensive medical care and therapies.

Parents need to learn what they need to know about PA, medical insurance, state programs for respite/nursing, school, and transition.   This is not an easy process.

If you are close to a family with PA, there are things you can do to help.

  • You can make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer every time you are near the child.   Make sure the family knows if you are sick before they attend an event.
  • You can bring or send meals to the family.
  • You can help with transportation of a sibling or watching the sibling.
  • You can visit the family when the child is hospitalized
  • You can call to check in with the family.

Tips from Parents and Caregivers

Resource Guides (United States)