Aims and objectives: To measure the benefit of a short-family therapeutic conversation (STC) intervention in an acute paediatric unit.
Background: Studies of children with bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have shown that this virus may have an impact on their respiratory system in the form of a wheezing disorder, asthma and even allergy during their childhood. Studies of the parents of these children indicate that they experience distress, vulnerability and anxiety through the illness period and therefore need support from healthcare professionals. However, little is known about what intervention is of most benefit for these parents.
Method: Data were collected from a convenience sample from February throughout April 2009 at an acute unit at a children's hospital in Iceland. Parents of infants diagnosed with bronchiolitis caused by RSV were invited to attend. In total, there are 41 participants: 21 in the intervention group (n = 21) and 20 in the control group (n = 20). Parents in both groups answered questionnaires about perceived support and family expressive functioning both before the intervention and on an average of 11 days after the intervention.
Results: The main findings showed that mothers in the intervention group perceive significantly higher support after the intervention compared with the control group. The findings also showed a significant difference between the genders (mothers and fathers) in the intervention group. The mothers perceived higher cognitive support than the fathers.
Conclusions: Despite the often chaotic environment in an acute care setting, the research findings give paediatric nurses reason to conclude that a STC intervention benefits mothers of infants with bronchiolitis caused by RSV.
Relevance to clinical practice: A STC intervention offered by a nurse within an acute paediatric unit can support families in handling the illness experience.
Keywords: acute illness; family nursing; family support and functioning; respiratory syncytial virus; therapeutic conversation.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.