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The effectiveness of planned teaching of mothers with children treated in emergency departments Power, Denise Mary

Abstract

This study concerned itself with planned teaching in the hospital emergency department, that area of the hospital health care system that is becoming increasingly popular for short-term ambulatory care. However, the nursing care provided by this department has been largely unexplored by research. The purpose of this experimental study was to determine whether planned teaching involving verbal and written instructions given to a mother prior to the discharge of her child from the emergency department following treatment for a traumatic limb fracture requiring cast application, would enable her to cope more adequately with the home care of her child than the mother not receiving this planned teaching. The Null hypothesis was tested: there is no significant difference in the coping abilities of the mothers of the experimental group as compared with the mothers of the control group. Using five general hospital emergency departments, twenty mothers were assigned to alternate experimental and control groups, with the experimental subjects receiving the planned teaching before discharge. Through home visit interviews with all subjects, the mothers' coping abilities were assessed by the number of specified care objectives they had achieved. The individual totals were ranked and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test, the results of which led to the rejection of the Null hypothesis with p = .001, thus indicating a greater ability to cope by the mothers receiving the planned teaching. The total achievement scores of each objective were analyzed using the Fisher Exact Probability Test, resulting in five of the twenty objectives achieving significance at the .05 level. As four of the control subjects received routine written instructions before discharge from one hospital, the evaluation scores of these were compared with the remaining control subjects using the Mann-Whitney U test. No significant difference was found suggesting the ineffectiveness of written instructions without explanatory verbal instructions as well. Selected personal characteristics of the subjects and their children provided a description of the study population. The study's findings suggested that there is a lack of planned patient teaching in emergency departments although literature sources indicate that such teaching is necessary if patients and their families are to assume full responsibility for their own care. The study recommends that nurse practitioners be made aware of their teaching function and be encouraged to achieve competence and confidence in this function through inservice programs.

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