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Study Finds Kids Want More Info About Their Hospital Care

FRIDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Excluding children from discussions about their hospital care can make them feel scared and angry, a new study finds.

Parents and medical professionals need to make an effort to consult young patients and include them in decisions, said the researchers from Dublin, Ireland.

The study authors interviewed 55 children and teens, aged 7 to 18, at three hospitals and found that the kids wanted to be included in discussions about their care and to have their views and concerns taken seriously. While some felt included in discussions, most reported difficulties.

Many of the young patients relied on their parents to act as advocates and to explain what was happening, the researchers said.

The investigators also found that the way health professionals communicated and behaved was a major barrier to children being included in discussions about their care. Most of the children said health professionals tended to "do things" to them with very brief or no explanations. Because of rushed consultations, many young patients said they couldn't ask questions or offer information.

In addition, health professionals often directed information at the parents and used language that young patients found hard to understand.

The study is published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

"Health care organizations need to develop cultures where participation is firmly embedded, not just a desirable add-on. Communicating with children, and including them in decisions about their care, conveys respect, enhances and develops their decision-making capabilities and contributes to psychosocial well-being," study co-author Imelda Coyne, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin, said in a journal news release.

More information

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario outlines how to prepare your child for a hospital experience.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Nursing, news release, July 25, 2011

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