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Strategies that assist children with communicative disability during hospital stay: Parents' perceptions and ideas

Journal article
Authors G. Thunberg
Margret Buchholz
Stefan Nilsson
Published in Journal of Child Health Care
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 224-233
ISSN 1367-4935
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 224-233
Language en
Keywords Children's rights, disability, parents, centered care, professionals, settings, Nursing, Pediatrics
Subject categories Health Sciences


There is a lack of research on the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in paediatric care, despite the fact that most children in need of AAC frequently need to visit hospitals and sometimes have to stay for long periods. The aim of this study was to investigate parents' experiences of the hospital visits with their children with communicative disabilities and to collect their ideas about how to optimize communication in this situation. Ten parents who had children with communicative disability took part in three focus group interviews. The analysis had a retrospective qualitative content theory. In the qualitative content analysis of the focus group interviews, 4 categories and 17 subcategories were identified. Overall, the results highlighted the importance of enabling direct communication between the child and the staff during the hospital stay. Parents of children with communication difficulties highlighted the importance of listening to their children and understanding their needs during hospital care and that hospital staff are in need of more knowledge in communicative disability and AAC to accomplish this. Training programmes for health-care professionals should be established to facilitate these requirements and connect to the United Nations conventions. Hospitals should provide and use AAC/communicative support.

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