Weaving the seamless web of care: an analysis of parents' perceptions of their needs following discharge of their child from hospital

J Adv Nurs. 2000 Apr;31(4):812-20. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01339.x.


Changes in children's nursing services in the United Kingdom in recent years have focused on the need for adequate and efficient services to be provided in the interests of the child. Early discharge is now the norm and children are often sent home in an earlier recovery stage than adults with comparable conditions. Whilst the contributions of paediatric community nursing services have gone some way to providing specialist nursing care for children and their families in their own homes, the majority of children are discharged home without such support being available. This may place an overwhelming responsibility of caring for a recovering child onto parents. The purpose of the qualitative research reported in this paper was to identify any gaps in nursing services for acutely sick children and their families following discharge, and to suggest ways to improve integration and communication between hospital and primary care to facilitate a 'seamless web of care' for families. Families were surveyed following discharge (n=164) and interviews carried out with those experiencing problems (n=20). General practitioners were also surveyed for their opinion as key contributors of primary care. Findings revealed the isolation felt by parents following discharge, with their need for information about a child's illness and expected recovery, and for reassurance and specific advice through some means of support, which was clearly not being met. The perceived benefit of continuity of care was a common theme, with both parents and professionals acknowledging the importance of closer liaison between hospital and primary health care services. This study is valuable in providing preliminary qualitative information regarding the gaps in children's nursing services and how these can be overcome by using our present resources more imaginatively, in order to ensure the delivery of cost-effective and quality health care services in the best interests of local need.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pediatric Nursing / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United Kingdom