Journal Article

Experience of care of hospitalized newborns and young children and their parents: A scoping review

Several global initiatives put parent involvement at the forefront of enabling children’s well-being and development and to promote quality of care for newborns and hospitalized young children aged 0–24 months. Scanty evidence on mistreatment such as delays or neglect and poor pain management among newborns exists, with even less exploring the experience of their parents and their hospitalized young children. To address this gap, authors reviewed research on experience of care for hospitalized young children and their parents, and potential interventions that may promote positive experience of care.

A scoping review of English language articles, guidelines, and reports that addressed the experiences of care for newborns and sick young children 0–24 months in health facilities was conducted. Multiple databases: PubMed, PROSPERO, COCHRANE Library and Google Scholar were included and yielded 7,784 articles. Documents published between 2009 and November 2020, in English and with evidence on interventions that addressed family involvement and partnership in care for their sick children were included.

The scoping review includes 68 documents across 31 countries after exclusion. Mistreatment of newborns comprises physical abuse, verbal abuse, stigma and discrimination, failure to meet professional standards, poor rapport between providers and patients, poor legal accountability, and poor bereavement and posthumous care. No literature was identified describing mistreatment of hospitalized children aged 60 days– 24 months. Key drivers of mistreatment include under-resourced health systems and poor provider attitudes. Positive experience of care was reported in contexts of good parent-provider communication. Three possible interventions on positive experience of care for hospitalized young children (0–24 months) emerged: 1) nurturing care; 2) family centered care and 3) provider and parental engagement. Communication and counseling, effective provider-parental engagement, and supportive work environments were associated with reduced anxiety and stress for parents and hospitalized young children. Few interventions focused on addressing providers’ underlying attitudes and biases that influence provider behaviors, and how they affect engaging with parents.

Limited evidence on manifestations of mistreatment, lack of respectful care, drivers of poor experience and interventions that may mitigate poor experience of care for hospitalized young children 0–24 months especially in low resource settings exists. Design and testing appropriate models that enhance socio-behavioral dimensions of care experience and promote provider-family engagement in hospitals are required.