The importance of an outdoor playground for children with epilepsy and their family during and after hospitalization: A qualitative study of parents' experiences

Mette Schou Larsen*, Hanne Agerskov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To explore parents' experiences of using an outdoor playground during hospitalization with their child with epilepsy. Method: The study is based on a qualitative exploratory design. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 10 parents with a child with epilepsy (6–11 years). A phenomenological- hermeneutic approach was taken, inspired by Ricoeur. Data analysis and interpretation have been conducted at three levels: naive reading, structural analysis, and critical interpretation and discussion. Results: During hospitalization the playground was the children's territory, where children felt safe, in control and normality. Parents experienced valuable time with their children through participation, and play facilitated communication and reduced pain and negative emotions. The playground improved parents and children's emotional well-being during hospitalization. Further, it supported coping with epilepsy, and contributed to gain successful experiences thus children developed self-esteem. Conclusion: The study indicates that to the parents, an outdoor playground at the hospital environment is valuable for supporting children with epilepsy and their families to cope with hospitalization and everyday life, and it contributes to improve the family's physical, social and emotional well-being. The results emphasize that play at an outdoor playground could be integrated in the care and treatment during hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Volume66
Pages (from-to)e16-e21
ISSN0882-5963
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11. Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Children
  • Epilepsy
  • Family centered nursing
  • Hospitalization
  • Playtherapy

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