Families' experiences to shape future of sick kids' services

Families' experiences to shape future of sick kids' services

Parents and carers of children who have had a short stay in hospital within the last 12-18 months are being asked to help share their experiences and provide information to shape the future of sick kids' services across Scotland.

The University of Aberdeen-led project seeks to get a fuller understanding of parent and carer’s experience when a sick child requires a short admission to hospital.

A multi-disciplinary team including Nursing, Paediatric and GP colleagues from the Universities of Aberdeen, Stirling and Edinburgh Napier are interviewing families whose child has experienced a recent short stay in hospital to understand more about their experiences and suggestions.

The FLAMINGO project is all the more relevant in the midst of Covid-19, with researchers keen to explore what effect the pandemic is having on parents’ experience of sick kids’ services.

Project leader, Professor Steve Turner, a child healthcare expert at the University of Aberdeen and a consultant paediatrician with NHS Grampian, said: “This is an opportunity for families to have a say in how services for sick kids could look in future.

“These are confusing and worrying time for parents of young children, who can be uncertain about the best thing to do if their child becomes sick.

“The NHS is continuing to see children as normal and parents are advised to seek help as they usually would if worried about their child. 

“Covid-19 has increased family anxieties and is changing the way we all respond to symptoms of illness. We’re asking families and healthcare workers, when this pandemic has passed – ‘what would you like services for sick kids to look like?’."

In addition to interviewing parents and carers the study is also keen to learn from the experiences of healthcare workers involved in providing emergency care for children and young people.  If you are a parent or a professional working with sick kids, you can have your say in shaping our future services in Scotland. 

Professor Turner added: “We are keen to involve the public and NHS staff to help improve how we deliver services, so that children in Scotland get the right care at the right time, and the best possible start for their future health.”

Parents or NHS staff who are interested in taking part and talking to a researcher can contact Emma King (emma.king@stir.ac.uk) or Steve Turner (s.w.turner@abdn.ac.uk).