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Curationis. 2008 Jun;31(2):30-42.

Experiences of parents during the hospitalisation of their child in a private paediatric unit.

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Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg.


A change in the health of a child is regarded as a major stressor for parents which further increases when the child is admitted to a hospital (Kaplan & Sadock, 1998:799). The role of the family in a child's illness is slowly being recognised (Kibel & Wagstaff, 2001:544), but the South African government per se has not yet issued any formal reports on parental participation in the hospitalisation process. The purpose of the study was to describe recommendations to support parents with the hospitalisation of their child in a private paediatric unit. An interpretive-phenomenological qualitative approach was followed through unstructured individual interviews, narrative diaries and field notes. Purposive sampling was used to achieve saturation of data. Seven parents were interviewed and 15 parents completed narrative diaries. Trustworthiness and ethical considerations were maintained throughout the study. The transcribed interviews, narrative diaries and field notes were analysed through open-coding. Recommendations focus on 1) empowering parents to participate in their child's care; 2) guiding nursing personnel to plan the discharge process; 3) including parents in the unit routine; 4) fostering a trusting relationship with parents; 5) promoting the communication of information; and 6) creating a therapeutic environment for parents.

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