Protocol for study of who owns the child in hospital

Ryley Molloy, Wendy Smyth, Linda Shields

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Background: When a child is hospitalised, the whole family can be affected. Those caring for the child must consider the impact of the child’s admission on all of the family members. In many hospitals, paediatric health professionals will use family centred care (FCC) during a child’s admission to ensure care is planned around the whole family. This allows for the family to be a focal point in the care delivery of the child. However, it is known that FCC is difficult to implement successfully. Barriers to FCC need investigation and may include conflict between staff’s and parents’ concepts of who holds primary responsibility, or ownership of the child. This paper presents the protocol for such a study.
Aims: The primary aim is to examine the concepts of ownership of the child held by parents of hospitalised children, and by health professionals who care for the children and their family; and to investigate how communication between parents and staff are coloured by these concepts. The secondary aim is to use the data to develop vignettes which can be used to elicit in- depth responses to this sensitive question.
Methods: The sample will consist of a total of twenty participants: eight parents, and four nurses, four allied health staff and four doctors who work in a paediatric ward. This qualitative study using data collected by interviews focuses on one question, “When a child is admitted to hospital, who owns him or her?” Thematic analysis will be used to find themes from which vignettes
will be developed, in preparation for a larger study to be undertaken at a later date.
Conclusion: This protocol describes the study’s background, significance, aims, methods and ethical considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalWorking Papers in the Health Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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