Authors: Leena Paniker
Parent empowerment is upheld as a creative strategy to provide a family-centred care in chronic childhood illness. Empowering the parents of children with chronic illnesses will enhance parental coping and bring about improved care outcomes for the child. Nevertheless identifying and measuring parent empowerment practices are ambiguous probably due to the subjective nature of the concept. This qualitative descriptive study explored nurses’ perceptions of parent empowerment in chronic childhood illness. Purposeful sample of registered nurses from an Irish tertiary referral children’s hospital participated in the study. Three focus group interviews were conducted among a purposeful sample of child health nurses (N =14) with semi structured, open-ended questions. The data was analysed using qualitative content analysis strategy of Burnard (1991).Many of the participants believed that parent empowerment practices needed more conceptual clarity. The participants identified that the empowered parents were able to take care of their child in a safe and structured way at home with an improved sense of control over their child’s care. An atmosphere of trust, open communication, shared decision making, support and parental readiness to accept their child’s care led to parent empowerment. Nurse’s role was identified as an advocate for the child and the family and, as a frontline worker who fill the gap between parent and the multidisciplinary team. It is recommended that further training and clear clinical guidelines are needed to accomplish parent empowerment.
Keywords: chronic illness, parent empowerment, nurses’ perceptions.