An observational study of the level at which parents participate in decisions during their child's hospitalization.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When a child is hospitalized, the parents find themselves in an unfamiliar environment and their parental role changes. They are in a stressful and often anxiety-filled situation and it may be difficult for them to participate in decisions. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which parents participate in decisions during the course of events when their child is hospitalized. Thirty-five parents of 24 children (aged 5 months to 18 years) were followed by mobile observation during their child's hospitalization in a paediatric department in Sweden. Three researchers analysed field notes in three steps, using manifest and latent coding. In step 1, 119 situations that included a decision process were identified. In step 2, the situations were assessed according to a five-level scale concerning how the parents' wishes, desires or values had been respected. In step 3, each situation was scrutinized with respect to factors influencing the extent of the parents' participation. The results showed that parents have varying ability to be involved in decision making. Professionals need to communicate more openly with them in order to identify and satisfy their needs because some parents are unwilling or incapable of expressing them.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics


  • Consumer Satisfaction, Sweden, Non-U.S. Gov't, Support, Professional-Family Relations, Patient Participation, Parents : psychology, Male, Infant, Human, Female, Decision Making, Family Health, Communication, Preschool, Child, Hospitalized, Adolescence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-214
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch