Parents' experiences of their child being admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit: a qualitative study–like being in another world

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: There is very little research on the parent's experiences of having a child admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit. Identifying and describing ‘such experiences’ could facilitate better parental support from the paediatric intensive care team and help the parents manage a stressful situation. Aims: This study aimed to describe parents' experiences of having their child admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit. Methods: Interviews were conducted with 12 parents whose children had been admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit. A qualitative design was used, and the interviews were analysed based on content analysis. Result: The analysis revealed two categories: ‘being involved’ and ‘being informed’ with seven subcategories: ‘caring for the parents’, ‘security and trust’, ‘altering the parental role’, ‘stress and fear’, ‘the importance of knowing’, ‘interaction in the care process’ and ‘being prepared’. An overarching theme emerged: the experience was ‘like being in another world’. The study concludes that a child's admission to a paediatric intensive care unit is a stressful situation, and for the parents to be able to handle the anxiety and stress, they need to be informed of and involved in their child's care. Conclusions: The parents' experience when their child is admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit is fraught with a range of emotion and fear. There are indications that things such as good information, involvement and a positive experience of the transfer to the paediatric ward reduce the stress and anxiety associated with paediatric intensive care admission. The result of this study could be used as a basis for a post-paediatric intensive care follow-up service for the children and their families.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • content analysis, family-centred care, paediatric intensive care, parents' experiences, qualitative study
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch