The perspective of children on factors influencing their participation in perioperative care

J Clin Nurs. 2015 Oct;24(19-20):2945-53. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12911. Epub 2015 Jul 27.


Aims and objectives: To describe the experiences of participation in perioperative care of 8- to 11-year-old children.

Background: All children have the right to participate in decisions that affect them and have the right to express their views in all matters that concern them. Allowing children to be involved in their perioperative care can make a major difference in terms of their well-being by decreasing fear and anxiety and having more positive experiences. Taking the views of children into account and facilitating their participation could thus increase the quality of care.

Design: Descriptive qualitative design.

Methods: The study was conducted in 2013 and data were collected by narrative interviews with 10 children with experience from perioperative care in Sweden. Qualitative content analysis was chosen to describe the variations, differences and similarities in children's experiences of participation in perioperative care.

Results: The result showed that receiving preparatory information, lack of information regarding postoperative care and wanting to have detailed information are important factors for influencing children's participation. Interaction with healthcare professionals, in terms of being listened to, being a part of the decision-making and feeling trust, is important for children's participation in the decision-making process. Poor adaptation of the care environment to the children's needs, feeling uncomfortable while waiting and needs for distraction are examples of how the environment and the care in the operating theatre influence the children's experiences of participation.

Conclusions: Efforts should be made to improve children's opportunities for participation in the context of perioperative care and further research is needed to establish international standards for information strategies and care environment that promotes children's participation in perioperative care.

Relevance to clinical practice: Nurse anaesthetists need to acquire knowledge and develop strategies for providing preparatory visits and information to children prior to surgery as well as reducing waiting times and creating environments with meaningful and tailored opportunities for distraction in perioperative care.

Keywords: children; healthcare; nurse anaesthetists; participation; qualitative content analysis; shared decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Decision Making*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Participation*
  • Perioperative Care*
  • Sweden
  • Trust