Policy Factsheet

Home Nursing Services for Children

Reasons for Policy

  • Hospitalization of a child can be very stressful for the child and the parents.1
  • Many times, children in the ER present with non-urgent illnesses and do not have primary care providers.1

Community Groups

  • Local Government
  • Local Public Health Department
  • Non-profits/Community Organizations

Policy Components

  • Specialized home-based nursing services
  • Target children with acute or chronic illnesses

Desired Outcomes

  • Reduction in hospitalization of children
  • Reduction in visits to ER
  • Reduced health care costs
  • Increased health and health care satisfaction

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 3: Insufficient Evidence Available.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

  • The evidence of effectiveness for these programs is mixed. Some studies suggest that home-based nursing services provided to children with acute and/or chronic illness are not effective in reducing hospital admissions or presentations to the emergency department, while others suggest that these services can improve parental satisfaction, reduce anxiety, and improve family functioning, psychological adjustment and school attendance. More research is needed.


  1. Cooper C, Wheeler DM, Woolfenden S, Boss T, Piper S. Specialist home-based nursing services for children with acute and chronic illnesses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004383.  

  2. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.