Child and parental surveys about pre-hospitalization information provision

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Child: Care, Health and Development, 2011, 37 (5), pp. 727 - 733
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Background There is little available information about what children and parents would like to know about a forthcoming hospitalization and what they currently receive. Methods The current study was a survey of 102 children between the ages of 6 and 10 years and their parents recruited either from the Recovery Unit following day surgery or from the wards following overnight admissions at Sydney Children's Hospital, Australia. Information was obtained about each child's experience in hospital, the nature and format of information that they had received prior to the admission, and what information the child/parent thought would be helpful to receive. Results Parents recorded a total of 163 questions asked by children prior to their admission. Questions related to timing (e.g. duration of admission, length of procedure), pain, procedural information, anaesthesia, needles, whether parents can be present, activities to do in hospital, seeking explanations ('Why' questions), hospital environment, seeking reassurance and miscellaneous questions. Children who were satisfied with the amount of information they received before coming to hospital subsequently reported that they would be significantly less scared should they need to come back to hospital for a future procedure. A total of 46.7% of children received information about their hospitalization from their parent(s) and a further 12% from a doctor and parent. Conclusions Children were found to have many questions about a forthcoming hospitalization. Parents were found to have a major role as information providers. Further research is needed to assess parental confidence and competence to meet their child's information needs. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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