Evid Based Nurs 1:60 doi:10.1136/ebn.1.2.60
  • Qualitative

Parental perception of stress during a child's health crisis was represented by 4 dimensions


To describe how families perceive stress by investigating parental experiences after admission of their child to a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU).




Medical-surgical PICU of a major children's hospital.


10 families were randomly selected from the Family Impact of Catastrophic Childhood Illness Project, which included families whose children (aged 1–14 y) presented with life threatening illnesses of acute onset. Families were excluded if they had a history of extended PICU admissions, recently immigrated from Southeast Asia, stayed <2 days in the PICU, did not speak English, or resided >120 miles from the study site. There were 8 two parent and 2 single parent families (mean age of mothers 28 y and fathers 32 y). Children (age range newborn to 9 y, 50% boys) had illnesses including acute pneumonia, acute epiglottis, congenital heart disease, epidural haematoma, status epilepticus, and acute appendicitis.


Semistructured family interviews lasting …

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