Washington: When it comes to staying in the hospital, feeling safe and being able to get to sleep at night are the things that matter most to sick kids, nothing more and nothing less, recent findings suggest.
As part of the latest project, researchers developed the ‘Needs of Children Questionnaire’ (NCQ), the first of its kind to measure children’s self-reported psychosocial, physical and emotional needs in pediatric wards.
They assessed 193 school-aged children in pediatric settings in Australia and New Zealand.
Findings were published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
More than 1.7 million Australian children were admitted to hospital in 2016-17, according to the most recently available figures, some for a short visit and some for lengthy and regular stays.
“Historically the literature on children’s needs and experiences within healthcare settings have been largely limited to surveys completed by adults answering for children,” said Mandie Foster, lead author of the study.
The children surveyed identified their most important needs as:
1. “To know I am safe and will be looked after.”
2. “To get enough sleep at night.”
3. “That staff listen to me.”
4. “To have places my parents can go to for food and drinks.”
5. “To have my mum, dad or family help care for me.”
According to the researchers, it was important to let children in the hospital communicate for themselves.
“As adults, we often make assumptions about children’s needs and wants, but hospitals can be a scary and unfamiliar environment for many children and we shouldn’t assume we know how they are feeling. Being listened to and understood can give children an added sense of confidence about the situation they find themselves in,” researchers pointed out.
From a medical point of view, child self-reports are essential to inform healthcare delivery, policy, research and theory development.