Paediatric pandemic planning: children's perspectives and recommendations

Health Soc Care Community. 2010 Jul;18(4):369-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2009.00907.x. Epub 2010 Feb 18.


Children, as major stakeholders in paediatric hospitals, have remained absent from discussions on important healthcare issues. One critical area where children's voices have been minimised is in the planning for future pandemics. This paper presents a subset of data from a programme of research which examined various stakeholder experiences of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreaks of 2003. These data also generated recommendations for future pandemic planning. Specifically, this paper will examine the perspectives and recommendations of children hospitalised during SARS in a large paediatric hospital in Canada. Twenty-one (n = 21) child and adolescent participants were interviewed from a variety of medical areas including cardiac (n = 2), critical care (n = 2), organ transplant (n = 4), respiratory medicine (n = 8) and infectious diseases (patients diagnosed with suspected or probable SARS; n = 5). Data analyses exposed a range of children's experiences associated with the outbreaks as well as recommendations for future pandemic planning. Key recommendations included specific policies and guidelines concerning psychosocial care, infection control, communication strategies and the management of various resources. This paper is guided by a conceptual framework comprised of theories from child development and literature on children's rights. The authors call for greater youth participation in healthcare decision-making and pandemic planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Decision Making
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Planning / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Pediatrics*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Tape Recording
  • Young Adult