The views of nurses on adherence in school-aged children with a chronic illness

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Neonatal, Paediatric and Child Health Nursing, 2007, 10 (2), pp. 5 - 10
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The proportion of children who develop a chronic illnesses, survive into adulthood and require ongoing treatment, is increasing worldwide. Health services are stretched to their limit and valuable resources for treating and managing chronic illness are becoming more expensive and in some cases scarce. The extent to which these resources are effective in achieving the best possible outcomes depends in large part on the level of adherence of the children and their families. The purpose of this study was to explore the views of paediatric nurses on the challenges of adherence, specifically in school-aged children, and their views on potential strategies for overcoming these challenges. Twenty-two registered nurses took part in focus groups and qualitative analysis of the data was undertaken. This paper discusses what the nurses considered to be the most challenging issues faced by school-aged children attempting to comply with treatment within the school environment. The most important of these issues was the need for an individualised, age-appropriate 'self-managed' approach to care. In addition, the need for basic facilities, education of school staff to support children, and better communication amongst those involved in the management of the child, were identified. In conclusion that successfully implementing a self-managed approach to care enables children with a chronic illness to attend school. The school health nurse is in the best position to act as the interface between the health and education systems to ensure children with chronic illnesses can maintain their health and receive an education.
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