The Parent perspective on child symptom management as an outcome of care for the emergency department : a qualitative descriptive study

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Mitchell, Donald W.
Oregon Health & Science University
Nursing, Child, Hospital Emergency Service, Palliative Care, Outcome Assessment (Health Care, Qualitative Research
thesis / dissertation description
This qualitative descriptive study describes parents’ perspectives on their young (birth-8 years of age) child’s symptom management as an outcome of treatment in the Emergency Department (ED). The study had two specific aims: the first was to describe parental perceptions of their young children’s illness symptoms when they bring their child to the ED; and the second is to describe what is important to parents about their young children’s illness symptom management after visiting the ED. Thirteen eligible parents participated in post-visit interviews with a semi-structured format. Interview transcripts were analyzed and coded for descriptive concepts as articulated by parents regarding the study aims. Three main interactive categories were identified. The first was a cyclical process of symptom management. The cycle starts with parents noticing something is wrong with their child, becoming alarmed, learning about and knowing the illness, learning to manage the illness, and returning their child to their normal health state. The second category is provider interactions, which can affect each step of the cycle. These interactions were: 1) communications involving discussions with providers, parental expectations, communication around care, and provider behaviors; and 2) the interventions involved. The third category entails the underlying family contexts of social supports and life logistics that affect both the symptom management cycle, and provider interactions. Understanding the parents’ perspective on the important patient-centered outcome of their young child’s symptom management adds to the body of knowledge in this area.

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