Understanding Parents' Experiences and Information Needs on Pediatric Acute Otitis Media: A Qualitative Study

J Patient Exp. 2019 Mar;6(1):53-61. doi: 10.1177/2374373518771362. Epub 2018 Apr 24.


Background: Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common pediatric bacterial ear infection, affecting up to 75% of children younger than 5 years. Despite the high incidence of AOM in children, the condition presents a number of challenges to parents. The objectives of this study were to describe parents' experiences of taking care of a child with AOM and to identify their information needs to manage their child with AOM.

Methods: A qualitative, descriptive design was used to gain insight into information needs of parents' of children with AOM. Participants were recruited from a specialized pediatric emergency department in a major Canadian urban center (Edmonton, Alberta). Individual semi structured interviews were conducted with 16 parents.

Results: Seven major themes were identified and described: (1) frequency of AOM, (2) symptoms of AOM experienced by children and parents, (3) AOM symptom management strategies used by parents, (4) parent's beliefs about AOM, (5) parent's satisfaction with treatment prescribed by physicians, (6) the effect of AOM on family's quality of life, and (7) parent's information needs about AOM. Findings indicate that AOM has considerable negative outcomes for both children and families and that parents would benefit from having more evidence-based resources.

Conclusions: This study provides important information around parents' experiences and information needs for pediatric AOM. Identifying parents' information needs and developing innovative and communicatively responsive educational approaches for parents are warranted that reflect patient-centered nursing care.

Keywords: acute otitis media; information need; parent’s experiences; pediatric; qualitative.