Objectives: Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have special health care needs. The aim of the study was to evaluate the inpatient care of children with CP, as perceived by their parents.
Methods: Forty parents of children with CP and 90 parents of able-bodied children completed a questionnaire designed to evaluate their perception of their child's hospital admission, including the care provided. The parents also completed the Perceived Stress Scale.
Results: Overall, parents of able-bodied children were more satisfied with the hospitalization than parents of children with CP (P < 0.0001). Significant differences were found in four of the five areas assessed: the admissions process (P = 0.0002); the care that their child received (P < 0.0001); their communication and confidence in doctors and nurses (P < 0.0001); and their personal experience of the hospital (P = 0.0076). Parents of disabled children displayed a much higher mean score on the Perceived Stress Scale, but no correlation was found between this scale and the satisfaction questionnaire for either group.
Conclusion: The results of this study show that parents of children with CP were, as a group, less satisfied than parents of able-bodied children with their inpatient experience. Although these children have complex needs and often require more care than able-bodied children, it is imperative that their needs are met and that parents are satisfied with all aspects of the care they receive in hospital.