Date Published: 25 March 2009
Parents take children with minor illnesses to A&E for supportive advice (RCN)
Nearly half (46%) of parents who take their children to A&E with minor illness do so to get better practical advice on how to treat their child's condition at home. The findings are being presented today at the Royal College of Nursing's 2009 International Research Conference today in Cardiff.
Dr Pippa Hemingway, Research Fellow at ScHARR, University of Sheffield, surveyed 272 parents of children aged 15 or younger who attended an A&E department with minor illnesses. The main factors which had led parents to take their children to A&E were:
- 46% needed more advice on how to care for their child's condition
- 14% were concerned at a sudden deterioration in a child's illness
- 9% expected expertise in the A&E department
- 9% felt their own attempts to treat the child had been unsuccessful
- 9% wanted to reduce their own anxiety about the child's illness
Dr Hemingway, also a registered Sick Children's Nurse said:
" Dealing with child illness is a particularly stressful time for any parent. When a child becomes ill, the child's symptoms, the psychological needs of the parents and the need for practical advice can all influence the decision to seek emergency care. Understanding these factors could help in the development of better services and resources to help parents of children with minor illnesses."
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said:
" In order to provide the best care for all patients, it is important to understand why an increasing number of children with minor illnesses are attending A&E. Parents who take children with minor illnesses to A&E often have their own logical reasons for doing so. By understanding these reasons it should be possible to provide a more appropriate solution to meet these needs and and in doing so reduce the pressure on often over-stretched emergency care departments."
Source: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK.
For more information see http://www.rcn.org.uk.