Innovator helps parents care for children at home

2015-05-05 06:00

The simple act of breathing is difficult or impossible for some children.

But with the Breatheasy programme at Red Cross Children’s Hospital parents with technology-dependent children will now be able to look after them at home.

The multi-disciplinary programme, co-ordinated by Sister Jane Booth, trains parents to take over the care for their technology-dependent children from the medical team at the hospital.

“We strive to recognise and support the families who provide extraordinary special care to their technology-dependent children at home,” Booth says.

Booth says the programme also improves the child’s quality of life, meets their developmental needs and prevents the psycho-social complications of long-term hospitalisation.

“They feel safe and secure growing up within their families, are integrated into their own communities and eventually will be able to contribute to society at large,” she says.

What makes this programme unique is that the parents (families) have to take complete responsibility for the care of their children at home, because as yet there are no paediatric home-based carers in the community.

Booth and her Breatheasy programme were recently included in a health innovators booklet from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation in recognition of her integral role in founding and facilitating the programme.

As a result, the programme was one of only two health innovations from South Africa that were featured as part of a BBC series showcasing health innovations across Africa.

The series focused on how these health innovations in Africa are making a difference to the lives of patients, their families and communities.

To watch the inset, visit

“I am so passionate about this programme, because it takes children out of hospital back home where they belong. It builds the capacity of the parents to be able to care for their children and allows children to continue leading their normal, daily lives,” Booth says

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