April 2019 - Volume 13, Issue 2

Mothers’ Satisfaction with Care Provided for their Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit


Amal Ahmed ElbilgahyLecturer of pediatric nursing, Faculty of nursing, Mansoura UniversityEgypt
Email: amal_ahmed568@yahoo.com

Received: February 2019; Accepted: March 2019; Published: April 1, 2019
Citation: Amal Ahmed Elbilgahy, Sahar Farouk Hashem, Doaa Shokry Abd El khalek Alemam. Mothers’ Satisfaction with Care Provided for their Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Middle East Journal of Nursing 2019; 13(2): 17-28. DOI: 10.5742MEJN.2019.93636


Background: Parents have the right to expect the same quality of care provided for their children. Today, patient and caregiver’s satisfaction is considered one measure for evaluating quality of care.

Aim of the study: The study aimed to identify mothers’ satisfaction with care provided for their children in PICU and to investigate the relationship between demographic and clinical data of the child and level of mothers’ satisfaction.

Methods: A descriptive research design was conducted on a convenience sample of 108 mothers and their children admitted to Mansoura University Children’s Hospital (MUCH). Parent satisfaction survey (PSS) was used after making modifications for data collection, in addition to demographic and clinical data of studied mothers and children.

Results: The results of this study found a statistically significant relation between the education level of mothers and the total score of mothers’ satisfaction. In addition, a statistically significant difference was found between length of hospital stay, previous admission to PICU and communication, and parental participation subscale domain (P>0.05).

Conclusion: The study concluded that mothers participation in care provided for their children and good communication from the health care team are significant to mothers’ satisfaction. Therefore, we recommend training programs should be implemented about effective communication skills between all of the health care team and pediatric patients as well as their parents.

Key words: Evaluation of care provided, mothers’ satisfaction, parent participation in care, parent satisfaction

Critical illness in children is a life changing event for the child, their parents, and the wider family (Warwick, 2012). Admission to pediatric intensive care units (PICU) are often a transitional phase in the child’s recovery from critical illness (Romer et al., 2016). Most children in PICU may be unable to express their needs and experiences. Parents’ experiences of a PICU admission are often related to their roles, stress factors and needs (Garratt et al., 2007). Family-centered care is a key element of care delivery models and places the family rather than the hospital and medical staff at the center of the health care delivery system and mandates incorporation of parents in daily care (Gill et al., 2014). Lack of understanding of the family’s needs when the child is hospitalized; the nature of the hospital admission and a high work nursing load can be barriers for nurses to commit to Family-centered care (Cutler, Hayter & Ryan, 2013).

Parents’ perception of quality of health care delivery that includes both experiences and satisfaction is an important factor in health care evaluation, interventions, and assessment of care excellence. Measuring parent satisfaction has become vital in the assessment of health care services. In recent decades, parent’s satisfaction has become a tool to appraise the quality of care and to accomplish a unique level in meeting parents’ needs and expectations in the critical care department (Ebrahim et al., 2013). Understanding what are the factors that increase parent satisfaction may provide approaches to the weak points in the care giving environment that may not be noticeable or viewed as unimportant to caregivers (Butt et al., 2013).

Of the different factors affecting parent satisfaction with care; one of the most important is neat and quiet PICU rooms and good communication and relationships between the health care team and parents. In addition, parent participation and involvement in their child’s care has a greatly positive influence on parent satisfaction (Tzeng et al., 2010).

A study conducted by Latour et al., (2011) found that the attitude of the health care professionals, organization of care, emotional strength, information management, environmental factors and mother sharing in care were the major concerns associated with parents’ satisfaction (Latour et al., 2011). Also, added services such as follow-up services for children and their parents can significantly affect parent satisfaction. These services are provided by a multidisciplinary team, including nurses, physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and social workers to ease and soften transitions from the PICU to the general ward, to other hospitals or to the home (Kuo et al., 2012).

Pediatric nurses must keep in their mind that the child’s entrance to the PICU can be a very terrifying incident for both the child and their parents. The nurse is also acting in a central role in helping parents face the challenges and difficulties of their child’s admission (Grosik et al., 2013). Improving nurse-patient contact may be a key to building a trusting relationship which increases the satisfaction of parents whose child is cared for in the PICU setting. This can be accomplished through providing more information about the child’s condition, the side effects of treatment, and having explanations given in terms that are easy to understand (Arabiant and Altamimi, 2013). Studies conducted on parents’ experiences with their child health care services in the Arab world are inadequate; and the pediatric health care systems need more upgrading, therefore, it is crucial to document the realism of parents’ satisfaction in the PICU settings.

Significance of the study
Evaluation of parents’ satisfaction with the quality of health care services is critical for the planning of health care in synchronization with the prospects of the patients (Tsironi et al., 2012). Until now, no studies have been conducted to investigate mothers’ satisfaction with medical services in PICU at MUCH and the parents have never invited to write down their level of satisfaction with care provided. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the satisfaction of mothers with care provided for their children in the PICU.

Aim of the study
The study aimed to identify mothers’ satisfaction with care provided for their children in PICU within six domains: information and easy to reach, organization, care and cure, parental participation, professional attitude and communication and to investigate the relationship between mother’s education and previous PICU admission with level of satisfaction with care. In addition, the study aimed to investigate the relationship between mothers’ demographic and clinical data of the child and level of satisfaction.

Research questions
1. What is the level of mothers’ satisfaction with care provided for their children in PICU?
2. Is there is a relationship between demographic and clinical data of the child and mothers and level of mothers’ satisfaction with care provided in PICU?

Subjects and Method

Research design
A descriptive research design was conducted on a randomly selected sample of 108 mothers and their children admitted to Mansoura University Children’s Hospital (MUCH).

Study setting:
This study was carried out in the medical Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Mansoura University Children’s Hospital affiliated to Mansoura University (MUCH), Egypt. The MUCH is the only pediatric hospital in Mansoura city; it has eight floors and provides care for all pediatric specialties. The PICU is a twelve bed unit located on the third floor. The PICUs by nature are mostly transitional units. Admission to pediatric ICU was usually from an emergency department or transfer from any pediatric ward; in addition, the pediatric patient was transferred from PICU to pediatric ward before discharge. The mothers of pediatric patients in PICU were actually present in the pediatric ward and they can come to their children at any time and participate in their children’s care, have involvement in (critical) decision making and sometimes were present during medical rounds and invasive procedures.

The sample includes a convenience sample of one hundred and eight (108) mothers and their children who were receiving care in PICU and fulfilling the following inclusion criteria: admission to PICU for more than twenty-four hours. Exclusion criteria were: parents who refused to complete the survey, admission to PICU less than 24 hours and parents whose child had died. The study sample was calculated using G- power software.

Parent Satisfaction Survey
This tool was adapted from Koontz, (2003); Abuqamar et al., (2016); McPherson et al., (2000) & Latour et al., (2009). The PSS is a 65 question survey scored using a 5 point Likert scale ranked from strongly agrees to disagree. It included questions related to six domains of care which include; information and easy to reach (10 items), organization (11 items), care and cure (17 items), parental participation (7 items), professional attitude (11 items) and communication (9 items). Socio-demographic and clinical data of studied mother and children was also involved and included questions about mothers’ age and educational level, child age and gender, diagnosis, previous PICU admission, frequency of PICU admission and hospital length of stay.

Validity and reliability
The reliability and validity of the modified parent satisfaction survey was undertaken. Five faculty members and two from the faculty of medicine from the Pediatric and Public Health department verified the content validity of the translated versions of the instruments. The reliability of scale was done using Alpha Cronbach’s coefficient test. The alpha reliability for modified parent satisfaction survey was (0.98). The reliability of subscales were as following (information and easy to reach a =0.93), organization (a =0.90), care and cure (a =0. 97), parental participation (a =0.94), professional attitude (a =0.95) and communication (a =0.70).

Ethical Considerations
The study was agreed to by the Research Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Nursing - Mansoura University. Agreement was obtained from the hospital manager to conduct the study after discussing the purpose of the study. Written consent was obtained from mothers after explaining the aim of the study. Privacy of information was guaranteed to the mothers and that the data was top secret and she had the right to leave the study at any time was relayed to mothers’ before starting the interview.

Data collection
Two methods of data collection were used; interview with mothers to complete the PSS and review of the child’s medical record to complete the clinical data of the child. The interview was done after the child was discharged from PICU and transferred to the pediatric ward. The interview was completed in 30 minutes. The data was collected from January to the end of June, 2018.

Pilot study
Eleven mothers and their children were included in the pilot study with percentage of 10% to evaluate the clarity, applicability and achievability of the study tool; the study result indicated that the tool was clear and no modification was done and the study subjects included in the pilot study were debarred from the total study sample.

Statistical Analysis
SPSS version 21 was used for data analysis; the data was first tested for normality by using “one-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test”. The qualitative data were presented as number and percent; mean ± SD was used for parametric data while, Median for non-parametric. Comparison between the two groups was done using “Student t test”. While, “ANOVA” test was used to compare between mean of more than 2 groups. The significance level for all tests was at p < 0.05.

Demographic and clinical data of studied mothers and children are represented in Table 1. In our study, infants and children were within the age range from 1-120 months with median of 36 months while, the mean age of mothers was 30.37± 7.40. Moreover, half of studied mothers and children (51.9% & 50% respectively) had preparatory and secondary school level and first time admission to PICU. Three quarters of children were transferred from an emergency to PICU and had no previous PICU admission (74.1% and 79.6% respectively).

Table 1: Demographic and clinical data of the studied group (mothers & children)

It is illustrated in Figure 1 that approximately one third (31%) of children suffered from respiratory problems; with renal and neurological problems representing 16 %.

Figure 1: Distribution of studied children according to their diagnosis

Table 2 represents distribution of the mean score of parent satisfaction survey. It was clear that the highest mean scores of PSS were in the care and cure subscale (63.86±15.09) followed by professional attitude (41.41±9.81) while, parental participation achieved (22.51±7.70).

Table 2: Distribution of the mean scores of domains of mothers’ satisfaction

A statistically significant difference was found between the education level of mothers and total score of satisfaction in all subscale domains except communication subscale as illustrated in Table 3.

Click here for Table 3: Relationship between domains of mothers’ satisfaction with care and their age and level of education

Table 4 shows that there were no statistically significant differences observed between the mean scores of mothers’ satisfaction subscales and factors such as child gender and age. However, a statistically significant difference was found between length of hospital stay, previous admission to PICU and communication domain, parental participation subscale domain (P>0.05).

Click here for Table 4: Relationship between domains of mothers’ satisfaction with care and clinical data of the children

A statistically significant difference was found between the child diagnosis and total and subscale score of satisfaction as represented in Table 5.

Click here for Table 5: Relationship between domains of mothers’ satisfaction with care and child’s diagnosis

Satisfaction is the health care receiver cognitive evaluation and emotional reaction to the configuration or of the setting, the care giving process, and the outcome of their service experienced or the parent’s opinion about the quality of care received. An understanding of what is satisfying to parents would help categorize targeting of areas of care for change and for which interventions to implement to further support families (Butt et al., 2013).

The findings of the current study showed the demographic and clinical data of the studied mothers and their children. It indicated that more than half of the studied mothers were aged > 30 years and had preparatory or secondary education. These results disagree with the study of Yilmaz et al., (2016) who reported that three quarter of the mothers in their study were within the age group less than 30 years, and one third of them had primary education and the minority had secondary education. In the present study, half of studied children were admitted to PICU for the first time and the median age of children was 36 months. This result was supported by Latour et al., (2011) who reported in his study that more than half (61%) of children were admitted to PICU for the first time. But they disagree with the present result that the median age of children was 16 (range 4-75) months.

Also, another study by Abuqamaretal, (2016) stated that less than a quarter of children in their study had length of stay at the PICU 8-14 days. These results clarified that the longer period of children’s admission in PICU was due to the severity of their condition which required more intensive treatment and frequent observation and monitoring.

It was observed from the present study that one third of the studied children were diagnosed with respiratory problems and less than a quarter of them had other problems such as GIT, neurologic, renal, cardiac and endocrine problems. These findings agree with the study by Latour et al., (2009) who reported that less than a quarter of the studied children had neurologic, cardiac problems, infection and trauma but, contrary to our result, more than one third of them had respiratory problems. This result explains that more children are admitted to PICU with respiratory syncytial viruses requiring mechanical ventilation and this is reflected in the relatively high number of respiratory diagnoses in our study.

Based on mothers’ satisfaction with the care provided in PICU in our study, as measured by Parents Satisfaction Survey domains, the findings clarified that only the domain of care and cure had the highest mean score and standard deviation followed by the professional attitude domain, then organization domain, information, communication and parental participation domains. These results were not similar in their rating with a study by Abuqamaretal, (2016) who reported in his study that the parents were generally satisfied with the PICU environment, and care provided for their children and staff contact. They reported that in the environment (organization) domain, parents were happy with cleanliness of their child’s bed; at the same time they were complaining about the noise level in the PICU and their belief that the PICU room is too noisy for their children to rest. In addition, the parents were less contented with the time that nurses spent caring for their child and they were disappointed with child privacy in PICU. Moreover, 70% of them reported a lower level of satisfaction in the communication domain.

Another study by Sanker et al., (2017) agrees with the current results; they indicated that 81.33 % of parents expressed satisfaction with the practice and proficiency of the staff but 70.25% of them were dissatisfied with the services offered by the health care system and the parental sharing in care of the baby. Also, within the professional attitude domain, this study reported the highest satisfaction levels in the interpersonal relationships with caregivers. In addition, a study by Avis & Reardon, (2008) confirmed that the interaction with the medical team was one of the factors influencing poorer outcomes among PICU parents for the total duration of stay and the professional attitude was also related to behaviors such as empathy, commitment, and respect.

The current results showed that mothers had a moderate level of satisfaction with care related to the organization (environment) domain. This result may be explained by the fact that the PICU is the large setting containing many beds and separates each patient from others by curtains, so there is no place for mother to stay with her child and there is no separate room for children. Consequently, it was negatively affecting on mothers’ satisfaction. Mothers in a study by Lilo et al., (2016) contrary with our findings made significantly more negative notes about emotional support and welcoming environment. Also, a study by Grosik et al., (2013) confirmed the importance of preparing of parents for a PICU admission and to be adapted to it. They stated that 70.7% of the parents were unhappy with the medical team’s effort to prepare them for PICU admission. This result means that being pressed into an unknown environment of invasive apparatus and strange devices can be a frightening experience for both child and parents.

Sufficient information given to parents plays a fundamental role in the successful treatment of children through lowering anxiety and stress which enables parents to participate in the care of children (Yilmaz et al., 2016). It was found that there was a positive association between child health status and information at discharge (Solheim& Garratt, 2013). The results obtained by Ygge and Arnetz, (2004) are congruent with the present findings and emphasized the importance of information about medical services in increasing the level of parents’ satisfaction. Also, a study by Yilmaz et al., (2016) reported that the highest score of parent satisfaction was achieved in the subscales of information and technical skills of the staff. However, a study by Ulus & Kublay, (2012) demonstrated that there was an inefficacy of health care personnel in providing sufficient information for the parents of children with critical conditions. Also, Sanker et al., (2017) indicated in their study that more than half of the parents (67.5%) reported that the PICU physicians in Jordan did not completely inform the parents regarding results of procedures. These results clarified that health care providers are still in need of better communication approaches when it comes to their patients and patient’s families.

Establishing successful contact with the parents and updating them with adequate information about their children and the required care can result in increased satisfaction (Weiss, Goldlust & Rempel, 2010). Miscommunication can lead to risk of prolonged stay, lack of continuity of care, sub optimal patient flow, readmissions, patient dissatisfaction and increased parental stress and anxiety (Haggstrom & Backstrom, 2014). In our study, the studied mothers had a lower level of satisfaction regarding the communication domain. The results could be interpreted as the mothers having children with critical conditions, so all the time they are worried and stressful about their child’s condition. Mothers’ reaction to their child’s hospitalization may vary and may include the reaction of frequent asking about the child’s condition, treatment prognosis and feeling dissatisfaction with the communication from the staff especially if the staff did not give them more attention due to staff work overload. This result is not similar with a study by Sanker et al., (2017) who mentioned that a little over half of the parents expressed their dissatisfaction with the communication with caregivers. Also a study by Wigert, Dellenmark & Bry, (2013) reported that half of the parents (54.5%) agreed that their child’ s caregiver did not do a good job in notifying them of who would assume the care of the child while they were not at work.

The current findings revealed that the studied mothers had a low mean score of satisfaction in parental participation domain. This result was in an agreement with Latour et al., (2009) who stated in their study that the parents ‘satisfaction level was low (74.78± 10.22) related to the item of parental participation. Also, Subramony et al., (2014) showed in their study that parents who were included in ward rounds felt more comfortable when asked their opinion, permission or in asking questions of health professionals than parents not included in ward rounds. Moreover, encouraging parents to spend time with their children and actively participate in the care process can facilitate the development of parental roles and increase the satisfaction rate (Wielenga et al., 2006).

According to the results of the present study, the total level of satisfaction was higher among the studied mothers with preparatory and secondary education (245.33±49.23) but mothers with bachelor degree of education had a lower degree of satisfaction (208.14±47.53). This result was not consistent with the result of Yilmaz et al., (2016) who mentioned that the level of satisfaction was higher among the parents with primary education (72.68±14.68). Also, our results emphasized that there was a statistically significant relationship between mothers’ satisfaction and their level of education. This result disagrees with Apay & Arslan, (2009) who reported that there was no statistically significant correlation between parents’ satisfaction and education level but a study by Asiliglu, Akkus & Baysal, (2009) was congruent with the present result and stated that the level of parent’s satisfaction is likely to decline with higher education.

As regards to the relationship between the level of satisfaction and age of the studied mothers in the current study; it indicated that the mean score of satisfaction was higher in the mothers within the age 30 years and there was no statistical significant difference between mothers’ age and their level of satisfaction. These results were similar with Aksakal & Bilgili, (2009) and Yilmaz et al., (2016) who reported in their studies that there was no statistically significant difference between these two parameters and the mean score of satisfaction was higher in the mothers within the age range of 21-30 years. These results could be due to young mothers generally having lower expectations from the health care personnel in this critical area.

In the current research, the results indicated that mothers’ satisfaction was not significantly influenced by the demographic characteristics of the studied infants and children as age and gender. However, other clinical data such as hospital length of stay, previous admission to PICU and diagnosis were reported to affect mothers ’satisfaction in all subscales of parents’ satisfaction survey. These results disagree with studies by Hunziker, (2012) and Arikan, Saban & Bas, (2014) who demonstrated that there was no statistically significant relationship between child’s characteristics such as diagnosis, hospital length of stay, number of admissions to PICU and mothers’ satisfaction with health care services.

The present findings showed that the mean score of total mother’s satisfaction in all domains of PSS was estimated at 230.22±50.43 which was higher than the results of previous studies in this regard as in the study by (Tokat, 2009) who ‘’evaluated the level of parent satisfaction in NICU’’ and reported that the mean score in his study was 77±8.2. Morover, the level of parent’s satisfaction was estimated at 74, 6% in a study by Asiliglu et al., (2009) who conducted his study in pediatric emergency units of Turkey. This dissimilarity with the results of the present study could be due to the disparity in the study environments which lead to general dissatisfaction of parents and psychological stress.

Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, the mothers’ satisfaction with care provided for their children was influenced by many factors such as maternal education level, length of hospital stay, communication and parental participation in care. Moreover, the clinical conditions and the diagnosis of the child also affected mothers’ satisfaction. Mothers identified needs including more explanation about child condition and prognosis, open visitation with more than two visitors and allowing mothers to sleep in the patient’s room at night were frequent suggestions.

It was recommended that parents must be involved in their child’s care during their presence in PICU and during medical rounds. Also, it was suggested that training programs should be implemented about effective communication skills between the health team and patients as well as their parents and providing parents with up-dated information about the child’s condition is necessary.

Limitation of the study
This study was completed by mothers only because they are those responsible for caring for their children and the mothers’ satisfaction was evaluated during the presence of mothers in the hospital which may affect on the results based on fear from counteraction with the medical and nursing staff for negative reports of prior care.

The authors wish to thank the mothers for the time and effort that they invested in this study through providing their valuable experiences.

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