Should parents share medical information with their young children? A prospective study.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:As psychiatric consultants to pediatric wards, we are often asked whether to disclose to young children full information about the invasive medical procedures they face. To date, no studies have been published offering an evidence-based answer to this question. This prospective study examined whether sharing medical information with young children regarding invasive interventions correlates with the development of chronic post-traumatic stress three to five months after hospitalization. METHOD:The participants in this prospective study were parents of 151 children aged 3-13 who were hospitalized in a pediatric surgery ward. The sample was representative of the population hospitalized in this ward during that year. Independent of the study, parents of 104 children chose to share with them information regarding the procedure they were about to undergo, while parents of 47 children chose not to do so. t-Tests were used to assess the correlation between the children's exposure to medical information and their level of long-term post-intervention stress. RESULTS:Findings show an inverse correlation between the children's exposure to medical information and their level of post-traumatic stress several months after their medical episode. The correlation is significant in both preschool children and school-aged children. CONCLUSIONS:We suggest the implementation of psychoeducation programs among both medical staff and parents in order to increase awareness of the importance of sharing medical information with young children facing medical challenges.

journal_name

Compr Psychiatry

journal_title

Comprehensive psychiatry

authors

Ben Ari A,Margalit D,Roth Y,Udassin R,Benarroch F

doi

10.1016/j.comppsych.2018.11.012

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2019-01-01 00:00:00

pages

52-56

eissn

0010-440X

issn

1532-8384

pii

S0010-440X(18)30197-4

journal_volume

88

pub_type

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