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|Title:||Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) and parental infant care: perspectives of general practitioners, nurses and parents living and working in the multicultural community of Western Sydney|
|Authors:||Wilson, Leigh Ann|
|Keywords:||Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants|
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
sudden infant deaths
Culturally And Linguistically Diverse
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Medicine. School of Public Health.
|Abstract:||For many years the major cause of infant mortality in NSW has been the result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Statistics show the area defined as 'Western Sydney' is no exception, and in 2002, a report prepared by the Epidemiology, Indicators, Evaluation and Research Unit (EIRE) in Western Sydney presented data indicating SIDS rates in the area were higher than the state average. In particular, two Local Government Areas (LGAs) had clusters of SIDS deaths. Previous Australian research identified a higher risk of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. The areas of Western Sydney where SIDS rates were higher than expected were home to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Island residents. The number of SIDS deaths in Aboriginal infants did not explain the higher than expected rate of SIDS in the areas under investigation. Studies undertaken in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have identified higher than expected risk of SIDS in Maori and Pacific Island communities in those countries, although this has never been studied in Pacific Island residents living in Australia. The reasons for these communities exhibiting a higher than normal SIDS rate is not completely understood, but can be partially explained by behavioural practices which are known to impact adversely on the risk of SIDS. This study sought to investigate the level of knowledge concerning the prevention of sudden and unexpected death in infants (SUDI) in three key groups of infant caregivers: general practitioners, nurses and parents living or working in the area geographically defined by Sydney West Area Health Service (WSAHS). In addition, the study sought to identify any variation in knowledge of SIDS reduction strategies in the three groups under study, and to investigate factors influencing knowledge and practice in these participants. The study findings were then used as a basis on which to develop strategies and recommendations to enhance the delivery of safe sleeping messages through the health care system. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, this cross-sectional study highlights a number of issues around infant care practices and the major influences on new parents living in a multicultural community. Results of the study showed there is a large variation in knowledge around safe sleeping practices (including SIDS reduction strategies) in all the groups studied. Although educational campaigns are conducted regularly, many general practitioners and parents are confused about the key SIDS reduction messages and still place infants in sleeping positions considered unsafe. While nurses and midwives were aware of the SIDS reduction strategies, they still occasionally used infant sleeping positions considered unsafe. General practitioners born overseas in a country where English is not the first language were less likely to be familiar with safe sleeping messages, including SIDS reduction strategies. Families from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background were less likely to have seen SIDS information in their own language than families who spoke English, and as a result were more likely to use traditional methods of infant care, including co-sleeping with siblings and parents and side or tummy sleeping. CALD parents were more likely to rely on herbal remedies and friends and family for assistance, than English speaking parents who accessed health professionals as the first point of call when infants were unwell. The study identified a relatively recent practice, which until reported in this study, has not been documented in the literature. The practice of draping infant prams with blankets originated from the Cancer Council of Australia guidelines which recommend covering a pram with a light muslin wrap to protect infants’ skin from the sun. It appears parents have misinterpreted this message and are covering infant prams with blankets to encourage sleep, even when sun exposure is not an issue. Research suggests that poor air quality around the head of an infant may affect an infant’s arousal response. While no research has been conducted on the air quality around an infants head when covered by a heavy blanket in a pram, it is possible based on research into air quality around infants, that that this practice may increase the risk of sudden and unexpected death in an infant. In conclusion, this study found that multiple changes to the SIDS reduction messages since the initial ‘Reduce the Risks’ Campaign have led to confusion about ways of preventing SIDS in GPs, nurses and parents in Western Sydney. The study makes seven recommendations aimed at improving knowledge of safe sleeping practices in these groups, and optimizing health outcomes for infants using a collaborative approach to service delivery and future initiatives.|
|Description:||Doctor of Public Health|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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