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Child and family centered approach to child hospitalisation and treatment

Using a novel methodological approach, we analyse the ultimate psychological consequences of chronic illness on affected children’s families, focusing on both the affected children, and their siblings and parents. The purpose is to identify qualities associated with family adaptation, such that are important for optimising children’s mental health and well-being over time, so that this knowledge can be directly applied in clinical practice.
We focus on:
(a) how children’s developmental circumstances are affected by their parents’ experiences and perceptions after their newborn child became ill, with follow-ups over 2 years;
(b) difficulties in parenting and family interactions associated with the affected child’s disability when the child is older, exploring factors that promote parent adaptability and parenting quality, family functioning and psychosocial health, thereby shaping the children’s developmental environment;
(c) psychosocial and mental health of both the affected children and their siblings, and how it is related to family functioning;
(d) child mental health as a function of family development in families where the onset of child illness was at birth compared to later in life.

We have built a research platform and a network with medical professionals with focus on further specifying the components of a child and family centered approach to hospitalised healthcare for children.

The overall aim is to identify qualities that promote good adaptation and psychosocial well-being for children and their families during child hospitalisation and complex medical treatments, and highlight their importance for family adaptation over time so that this knowledge can be applied in clinical practice in a rational way. We adopt an ecological systems approach, exploring how parents and children possibly influence each other in the experience of the child’s illness, hospitalisation and handicap, as these effects may be bidirectional, rather than the conventionally described unidirectional effects, from parents to children. We further assess the relevance of different features of the child and family centered approach to hospitalised healthcare for different social groups in our communities.

PI / research coordinator

Elia Psouni

elia [dot] psouni [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se