Background The United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights stresses the importance of providing children with information relating to their health and well-being, yet reports suggest children are offered insufficient support in healthcare environments. We audited the information provided to children and families requiring planned surgical admission in comparison to those admitted acutely to medical paediatrics. Additionally, we identified examples of child-specific information resources in national and international hospitals.
Methods Three approaches were taken to gain insight into practice locally, nationally and internationally.
(1) Information resources provided to paediatric inpatients admitted to the acute receiving unit were audited in comparison to information given to children with planned admissions via process observations.
(2) Qualitative feedback was gained from play specialists (n=2), families (n=30) and children (n=9; aged 3–15 years) via interviews.
(3) A review, including UK, Australian and US hospitals, was conducted to assess child-specific information resources (n=36 hospitals) and to systematically compare the information available on websites (n=9 hospitals).
Results At the study site, no child-specific information resources were available for acute admissions, whereas planned admissions were offered significant information face-to-face with supplemental resources. Child, parent and play specialist interviews highlighted gaps in information provision regarding hospital practicalities and processes. Twelve external child-specific resources were identified, for 4–14 year olds, explaining key care information: medical procedures, equipment and staff. These resources could positively respond to the topics cited as lacking by the interviewed patients and families at the study site. International hospital websites provided considerably more in-depth information compared with UK hospitals.
Conclusions The hospital experience of children and families can be improved by ensuring they are provided with adequate information relating to their hospital stay. It is essential that suitable high-quality resources are consistently available and that feedback from children informs the process of resource development.
- paediatric practice
- children's rights
- patient perspective
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Contributors MAP collected and analysed data, and wrote the first draft. NB, CH, MK, EK and OY collected and analysed data, and contributed to the final draft. HC contributed to the final draft and interpretation of results. SJ conceptualised the project, contributed to the final draft and interpreted the results.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The project was registered and approved by the quality improvement team; formal ethical approval was not required as the study was an audit of current process and patient experience with no interventions undertaken.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.
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