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Concerns of mothers participating in the care of their children hospitalized for minor surgery in a day care unit Smith, Ethel Margaret

Abstract

At present very little is known of the various problems mothers experience when their children are admitted to a day care unit in terms of the increased responsibility which is placed upon them for the preparation of their children and their care at home following discharge. The purpose of this study was to identify some of the major concerns expressed by mothers who participated in a day care unit in a children's hospital in Vancouver. A sample of twenty mothers was selected and the kinds of nursing activities in which they participated in the unit were assessed and rated by a participation scale. The data were collected by the researcher who took on the role of participant observer in the day care unit. Field notes were written on the mothers while they were in the unit and post hospital interviews recorded approximately one week to ten days following discharge. The participation scales, field notes and post hospital interviews were analyzed and the frequency and percentages of the expressed concerns determined. Seventy per cent of the mothers in the study group needed help in assisting with the care of their children in the unit. Concerns expressed by the mothers were centered on the notion of time and a desire for information related to the child's diagnosis, the anaesthetic, and operation performed. Postoperatively they expressed concerns related to symptoms caused by the anaesthetic, operation or examination. They seemed particularly apprehensive about the anaesthetic and its possible effects on the children. Seventy-five per cent of the mothers had previous experience with the hospitalization of their children. This factor seemed most characteristic of the group and influenced their participation in the day care activities. Only two mothers had prior knowledge of the day care unit and they participated independently, requiring little assistance from the nurse. Ninety per cent of the mothers were satisfied with the day care experience. Two mothers were unhappy about the arrangements and would have preferred having their children in hospital for a few days postoperatively. These mothers would have benefited from a home visit by a nurse. The remaining 90 per cent stated they did not feel they needed a visit from a nurse postoperatively. All mothers appreciated a telephone call from the hospital following surgery. The mothers contacted their doctors if problems arose at home. They felt the instructions they received by mail prior to admission were adequate. The success of surgical day care units for children is dependent upon the interest and support of parents. Mothers can prepare their children for surgery and cope with post hospital care, if they receive help and support from the nursing staff. Mothers whose children have been treated in a day care unit are most enthusiastic about this type of hospital care.

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