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Parental anxiety and affecting factors in acute paediatric blunt head injury

Abstract

Objective This study is designed to investigate the factors affecting parental anxiety regarding their children with head injury in the emergency department (ED).

Materials and methods This prospective observational study enrolled all consecutive paediatric patients admitted to the university-based ED with the presenting chief complaint of paediatric blunt head injury (PBHI). The parents were asked to respond to the 10-item questionnaire during both presentation and discharge. Anxiety and persuasion scores of the parents were calculated and magnitudes of the decreases in anxiety and persuasion scores were analysed with respect to sociodemographic and clinical variables.

Results The study sample included 341 patients admitted to the ED. The anxiety and persuasion scores of mothers and fathers were not significantly different from each other on presentation while the extent of decrease in anxiety scores of mothers were significantly smaller than that of the fathers (p=0.003). The parents’ education levels had significant impact on anxiety and persuasion scores recorded on presentation. The anxiety and persuasion scores were inversely related to education levels of the parents on presentation (p=0.002 and p=0.000, respectively). In addition, lower education levels were found to be associated with a greater decrease in anxiety and persuasion scores. Neurosurgical consultation also affected the magnitude of the decrease in anxiety and persuasion scores of the parents. The changes in the scores were affected negatively by the parents’ age.

Conclusions Radiological investigations had no significant impact on the decrease in anxiety and persuasion scores of the parents by themselves, while neurosurgical consultation had significant impact on them. Emergency physicians should tailor their strategy to institute effective communication with the parents of children to cut down unnecessary investigations in PBHI.

  • paediatrics, paediatric emergency medicine
  • Trauma, head
  • treatment
  • x-ray
  • imaging, CT/MRI
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