“Connected Care is absolutely brilliant. Staff on the other end of the call are great at helping build solutions to make you feel not alone when caring for your child. I can breathe a sigh of relief because of this program.”
– Katie, mom of one-year-old boy with medical complexity
Connected Care was just getting started when SickKids 2025 launched and has since evolved and expanded to include Connected Care Live, a web-based platform that offers on-demand around-the-clock virtual support for families and their home-care providers of children with medical complexity. Connected Care’s success is due in large part to engagement and continuous feedback from families transitioning from hospital care to home care.
The unique program starts with delivery of specialized education and helps build confidence and promote competence among family caregivers of children with medical complexity, and their health-care providers across sites of caregiving.
Katie has used Connected Care Live 15 times for her one-year-old child son is a SickKids patient and depends on a G/GJ feeding tube, central venous access device (port) and oxygen saturation monitor. The Registered Nurses available 24/7 via Connected Care Live have supported Katie with many stressful after-hours issues by helping her troubleshoot equipment and strengthen assessments virtually – through text, talk or video. By resolving issues virtually at home, Katie and her son have avoided several unnecessary trips to the SickKids Emergency Department (ED). For instances where a visit to the ED was unavoidable, Connected Care nurses helped Katie navigate to the ED and inform the ED of her son’s arrival in advance.
Connected Care also provides education for community health-care providers to address unique care needs of children with medical complexity and technology dependence. Staff develop curriculum and deliver education and practice support to hundreds of home-care professionals every year. One area of focus is supporting new home-care nurses through virtual visits led by Connected Care Registered Nurses and Respiratory Therapists. During these visits, home-care nurses are virtually coached to review safety checklists and the skills needed to care for a child. For home-care nurses caring for a child at home with a new tracheostomy, a hole in the trachea created through surgery that provides an alternative airway for breathing, these virtual visits are an extension of the home-care nurse’s education, helping prepare them for the role and enabling them to respond appropriately to high-risk needs of children with medical complexity.
Other areas within the program have also developed since launch, including extending Connected Care services to community hospitals to support capacity building through paediatric education and practice consultation from expert SickKids Registered Nurses and Respiratory Therapists.