Exploring Australian parents’ knowledge and awareness of pediatric inpatient falls: A qualitative study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 2019, 24 (4)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc Purpose: While there has been extensive published research into adult inpatient falls, less is known about pediatric falls in Australia. Falls pose a safety risk to pediatric patients potentially causing harm, increased length of stay, and death. Parents play a central role in reducing falls-related incidents given that, as parents, they provide care and/or oversee care delivered to their child at the bedside. Developing a better understanding of what parents and carers know about falls and associated risks, particularly those hospital-naïve, is central to developing family centered strategies and targeted education to meet the needs of parents. Our study aimed to explore Australian parents’ knowledge and awareness of pediatric inpatient falls. Design: Qualitative methods utilizing descriptive thematic analysis. Methods: Parents of children and/or young people hospitalized during the last 6 months were eligible to participate. Potential participants attending the outpatient clinics of two tertiary pediatric outpatient clinics hospitals in Sydney, Australia were invited to participate in the study. Willing participants consented to complete a face to face in-depth interview. Open-ended questions sought to explore participants’ knowledge, knowledge acquisition, and awareness of inpatient falls. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data familiarization and open coding were completed by researchers independently. Researchers explored and discussed emerging categories until patterns emerged and a consensus of dominant themes were agreed upon. Results: Interviews were conducted with mothers (n = 17), fathers (n = 4), or both parents together (n = 2) of a child or a young person who had been recently hospitalized. Four dominant themes emerged from the data namely: Supervision: falls won't happen, unexpected, parent priorities, and ways of learning about inpatient falls and risks. Despite parents' awareness of falls risk, parents were unaware that falls occur within a hospital setting and did not prioritize “falls prevention” during admission. Practice implications: Findings have implications for nursing practice, particularly in the delivery, content, and timing of falls prevention education.
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