New research from Massachusetts General Hospital reveals that families with children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) incurred significant nonmedical, out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, these families demonstrated work absenteeism and inability to perform daily activities, with the lowest income brackets bearing the highest burden.

An American College of Chest Physicians news release notes that in the single-center study of parents of children admitted to the PICU for 2 or more days, absenteeism across all families was 78 days, with high levels of distraction noted in those who did work due to the emotional stress of having a child in the PICU in addition to financial stressors. The mean out-of-pocket expense was $127, which differed among families regardless of income level reported or length of stay.

“The study found several strategies families used to reduce these nonmedical out-of-pocket expenses, including skipping meals, keeping a car at the hospital to use as a storage place for food and clothing, and choosing to sleep at the hospital with a child to avoid additional costs of food and travel,” says Natan Noviski MD, Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The study revealed a significant opportunity for PICU staff and hospitals to reduce the burden of nonmedical out of pocket expenses to aid families in these difficult situations.”

Source: American College of Chest Physicians