Objectives: We compared types, amounts, and costs of home care for children with HIV and chronic illnesses, controlling for the basic care needs of healthy children to determine the economic burden of caring for and home care of chronically ill children.
Methods: Caregivers of 97 HIV-positive children, 101 children with a chronic illness, and 102 healthy children were surveyed regarding amounts of paid and unpaid care provided. Caregiving value was determined according to national hourly earnings and a market replacement method.
Results: Chronically ill children required significantly more care time than HIV-positive children (7.8 vs 3.9 hours per day). Paid care accounted for 8% to 16% of care time. Annual costs were $9300 per HIV-positive child and $25,900 per chronically ill child. Estimated national annual costs are $86.5 million for HIV-positive children and $155 to $279 billion for chronically ill children.
Conclusions: Informal caregiving represents a substantial economic value to society. The total care burden among chronically ill children is higher than that among children with HIV.