This study was conducted to increase our understanding of children and young people’s experience of a hospital environment and to identify the salient attributes of the physical environment in their experience. There were three specific aims: to describe children and young people’s experience of a hospital environment and identify what constitutes a supportive paediatric environment; to examine the role of the physical environment in patients’ feeling of well-being; and to highlight the capacity of participatory research with children and young people to inform evidence-based paediatric design.
At this stage, there has been very little healthcare design research carried out with populations of children and young people. Well-being research with children and young people in paediatric environments that identifies the potential supportive attributes in this environment is also very limited. Historically research on children’s health and well-being has been dominated by a focus on the prevalence of disorders, problems and disabilities. More recently, in response to the change to health promotion, positive attributes have been included in well-being and satisfaction measures. At this stage, there are still many fewer positive measures.
Within the body of literature that exists in healthcare, healthcare design research, and well-being research, there are only a small number of participatory studies that focus on children and young people’s experience of hospitalisation, and an even smaller number that include children and young people’s experience of hospital environments. The picture that is created by the research that exists is patchy. There is a need for a more holistic understanding of children and young people’s experience of hospitalisation and of hospital environments from their own perspectives.
Based on these gaps in current knowledge, two research questions were developed. The first was concerned with describing children and young people’s experience of the sociophysical environment of a paediatric hospital. The second question was concerned with understanding the role of the physical environment in children and young people’s feeling of well-being in a hospital environment. In addressing these questions, the intention was to identify attributes within the hospital setting which collectively comprise a supportive environment for children and young people and which contribute to children and young people’s feeling of well-being in a paediatric setting.
The current study was conducted as an exploratory qualitative case study and carried out at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in Sydney, Australia. Using participatory research techniques, the sequence of the study included two pilot studies and the main study. The focus was on understanding the experiences of longer-term patients of a paediatric hospital environment. In the main study 25 children and young people, aged between 9-18 years, who had been in hospital for at least a week completed semi-structured interviews in which they talked about their response to the environment of the hospital and their experience of hospitalisation.
Data analysis was completed using a combination of concept mapping and thematic analysis techniques. Preliminary findings were used as the basis of a further member-checking task carried out with a further six children and young people before conclusions were reached.
The findings reveal that children and young people’s experience of a paediatric setting involves a number of major areas of influence including their personal situation, their social experience, their interaction with the physical environment, opportunities and characteristics of the organisation, and the effect of time. The findings also reveal that children’s feeling of well-being within this experience is linked to their ability to feel comfortable in the environment, to maintain a positive state of mind, and to remain positively engaged with the experience and the environment.
This research reveals a dynamic relationship between children and young people and a paediatric environment that children and young people actively manage and shape. It reveals some of the key considerations in children and young people’s experience of hospitalisation. It also reveals why these considerations are important and what role they play in patients’ experience and feeling of well-being. These findings provide the basis for further research and they have implications for future design and research practice in paediatric healthcare settings.
Grigg, Celia Phyllis(University of Sydney Sydney Nursing School, 2015-06-05)
This thesis reports the findings of the New Zealand Evaluating Maternity Units (EMU) prospective cohort study which included 407 pregnant women who booked to give birth in a primary maternity unit and 285 well women who ...
Jones, Lauren Margaret(University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences, 2014-08-29)
Objective: To develop an analysis technique using national hospital discharge data to estimate incidence rates of people hospitalised following acute traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI).
Method: Exploratory data analysis ...