• To be aware of the risk of severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in unwell and premature infants
• To enhance your knowledge of RSV prophylaxis with the monoclonal antibody palivizumab
• To recognise the important role of nurses in educating families about the importance of RSV prevention
Background Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children. Premature infants and infants with underlying health issues are at increased risk of developing severe RSV infection. Prophylactic treatment with palivizumab reduces their risk of hospitalisation.
Aim To measure nurses’ knowledge of RSV and RSV prophylaxis and explore their perceived potential barriers to palivizumab administration to children in the acute hospital setting.
Method A non-experimental, quantitative fixed study design was adopted. A 17-item online questionnaire was used to survey nurses caring for children under the age of 1 year in an acute children’s teaching hospital.
Results Questionnaires were completed by 144 nurses, giving a response rate of 53%. Respondents demonstrated an adequate knowledge of RSV and its prophylaxis but also some knowledge deficits, notably about the eligibility criteria for palivizumab. The most cited perceived potential barriers to palivizumab administration were uncertainty about which infants are eligible for it, forgetting to check whether a patient is due to receive a dose, parental refusal for treatment because their child is ill, and not knowing the contraindications of palivizumab.
Conclusion Front-line hospital staff have a crucial role in identifying infants eligible for prophylactic RSV treatment, in initiating prophylaxis in a timely manner, in avoiding missed or delayed palivizumab doses during infants’ hospital stays, and in educating families about the importance of RSV prevention.
Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2023.e1458Peer review
This article has been subject to open peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Moore E, Hughes M (2023) Respiratory syncytial virus and its prophylaxis with palivizumab: exploring nurses’ knowledge. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2023.e1458Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the study respondents as well as the nursing staff and the rainbow team staff from Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin in Dublin, Ireland
Published online: 08 February 2023
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