When a child is hospitalized, it is usually more than one person who needs attention – i.e. the child as well as its parents. The emergency ward environment and surgery rooms are unfamiliar and the parents feel anxious, insecure and uncertain about how to act. They are expected to participate in the child’s care, cope with their own anxiety and simultaneously convey a sense of security and stability to the child. The purpose of this study was to investigate parents’ experiences related to this situation. Data was collected by interviewing thirteen consecutively sampled parents. Qualitative content analysis showed that parents’ previous experiences created expectations, which in turn influenced their perceptions of the present episode. Participation was perceived as an offer and/or a requirement from parents as well as from the staff. For parents, it sometimes meant an additional effort since it demanded their involvement in caring for the child/in the child’s care. They experienced that their presence could be a threat as well as an asset for the hospital staff. The parents described that the level of accessibility, participation, relief, shared responsibility and adequate information determined the level of perceived security and safety toward medicine and hospital staff. Since every caring experience creates expectations, it means that every caring contact could be seen as an investment in future security.
Author: Magnusson, Anne
Source: Kristianstad University
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