Parents’ experiences of their child’s admission to paediatric intensive care
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Parents’ experiences of their child’s admission to paediatric intensive care

Ruth Oxley Staff nurse, Southampton University Hospital, Southampton

Ruth Oxley analyses how parents have coped with witnessing their child’s passage through intensive care

Background Admission of a child to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) may be one of the most stressful events for parents because the outcome is often uncertain. So how do parents cope, and how can we as nurses help them?

Aim To explore the lived experiences of parents whose children have been admitted to a PICU.

Methods Using Heidegger’s school of interpretative phenomenology, six unstructured interviews were conducted. These were transcribed and analysed following interpretative phenomenological analysis. Participants were chosen through purposive sampling.

Findings Each participant had different emergent themes. Themes included trauma, responsibility, anxiety about where the child is, post-traumatic stress symptoms and transfer to the ward.

Conclusion The lived experience of a parent is fraught with varying different emotions, with the beginning of the journey and the ending of the PICU admission causing the most anxiety.

Nursing Children and Young People. 27, 4, 16-21. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.27.4.16.e564


Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 02 September 2014

Accepted: 04 December 2014