Post-discharge experiences of children and their families following children's surgery.

Karen Ford, Helen Courtney-Pratt, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing rates of day surgery and decreasing length of hospital stay mean children's recovery from surgery extends beyond hospital and into the home. The objective of this study is to improve the understanding of experiences of children and their families during recovery at home post surgery. This is an exploratory, interpretive study using diaries and semi-structured interviews with children and parents. Results from this research show that children recovering at home after surgery have increased dependency and are likely to become the centre of family life; re-establishing independence is a marker of recovery. When present, pain dominates the experience. The families that go home ill-prepared experience high levels of worry. In conclusion, recovery from surgery is influenced by multiple factors; overall, families and children are resilient. There is a role for health professionals to tailor and improve information provision to parents and children about post-operative recovery, including assessment and management of pain. Information should be made available that describes the experience of other families who have undergone a similar surgery, and families should be made aware of what information they need and how to access it before and after discharge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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