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Ways parents help their preschool children with asthma Mitchell, Carol


This study describes ways that parents attempt to help their preschool children with asthma meet their basic human needs. Information about such parental guidance is lacking in the literature and yet parents need assistance from health professionals about how to accomplish the task of rearing their chronically ill children. Ten couples with asthmatic preschool children from the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia were identified and interviewed in their homes. The couples were asked about the actions they took to help their preschool children with asthma meet their basic human needs and the ways they perceived asthma and its treatment affecting their efforts to help these children. An Interview Guide was developed based on the University of British Columbia's Model for Nursing. It is a model with a basic human needs and systems theory framework. All interviews with the couples were audiotaped and later analyzed for content of their communications. The analysis revealed 17 specific helpful actions common to all of the couples, and additional emotions, decisions, and physical efforts to normalize their asthmatic children's and family's daily lives. It was concluded that the couples in this study assumed the responsibilities of helping their preschool children, sick or well, meet their needs to grow and develop according to parental tasks. The intensity of the helping behaviours tended to increase during the children's asthmatic attacks. There are implications for health professionals for developing programs to assist parents to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes: to facilitate the growth and development of their children with a chronic disease such as asthma.

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