Parents Are the Experts: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Parents of Children with Severe Neurological Impairment During Decision-Making

Title

Parents Are the Experts: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Parents of Children with Severe Neurological Impairment During Decision-Making

Creator

Bogetz JF; Trowbridge A; Lewis H; Shipman K; Jonas D; Hauer J; Rosenberg AR

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2021

Subject

children; palliative care; complex care; disabilities; caregivers; parents

Description

CONTEXT: Parents of children with severe neurologic impairment (SNI) often face high-stakes medical decisions when their child is hospitalized. These decisions involve technology/surgery, goals of care/advance care planning, or transitions of care. OBJECTIVE: This study describes the experiences of parents of children with SNI during decision-making. METHODS: Eligible participants were parents facing a decision for a child with SNI admitted to acute or intensive care units at a single tertiary pediatric center. Parents completed 1:1 semi-structured interviews and brief surveys between August 2019-February 2020. Demographic information was extracted from the child's electronic health record. A team of palliative and complex care researchers with expertise in qualitative methods used thematic content analysis to formulate results. RESULTS: 25 parents participated. The majority had children with congenital/chromosomal SNI conditions (n=13, 65%), >5 subspecialists (n=14, 61%), and chronic technology assistance (n=25, 100%). 68% (n=17) were mothers and 100% identified as being their child's primary decision-maker. Responses from parents included 3 major themes: 1) our roles and actions; 2) our stresses and challenges; and 3) our meaning and purpose. Responses highlighted the pervasiveness of parental decision-making efforts and parents' advocacy and vigilance regarding their child's needs. Despite this, parents often felt unheard and undervalued in the hospital. CONCLUSIONS: During hospitalizations, when parents of children with SNI often face high-stakes medical decisions, interventions are needed to support parents and ensure they feel heard and valued as they navigate their child's medical needs and system challenges.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

Special Edition #1 2022 List

Citation

Bogetz JF; Trowbridge A; Lewis H; Shipman K; Jonas D; Hauer J; Rosenberg AR, “Parents Are the Experts: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Parents of Children with Severe Neurological Impairment During Decision-Making,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 29, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17872.

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