Early Childhood Critical Illness: Exploring the Narratives of Children, Their Parents and School Staff

Prof Doc Thesis

Stone, L. 2022. Early Childhood Critical Illness: Exploring the Narratives of Children, Their Parents and School Staff. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v4qy
AuthorsStone, L.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Most children who are admitted to hospital due to critical illness (CI) survive as a result of medical advancements. However, the experience of CI can be traumatic for both the child and their family, as it disrupts family life and there can be ongoing challenges as a result. This research was interested in both how families and children overcome the adversity of CI and how these experiences impact upon and are understood in the school context. Therefore, the current research aimed to provide an in-depth exploration of the stories that young children, their parents and their teachers tell about early childhood CI.
The research included three children, four parents and four teachers. This research was conducted using a social constructivist paradigm with a focus on the stories that were told by participants and how they came to view and understand their experiences. The research adopted a qualitative design and narrative approach. Adult participants took part in unstructured interviews and children were invited to engage in talking, drawing and play activities.
Participants’ stories were firstly re-storied to offer rich and detailed insight into their experiences of CI. Then the stories were analysed to identify similarities and differences and several narrative themes and sub-themes were identified. The findings also offer insight into how CI is understood by children, their parents and school staff. The findings illustrate how complex and emotive the CI journey is and how families coped over time in light of family resilience theories. The findings were applied to eco-systemic theory to illustrate how families’ experiences are shaped by their interactions with wider systems. Implications for further research and practice are identified.

KeywordsCritical illness; childhood; post-discharge; hospital; narrative approach; family resilience
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v4qy
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Publication dates
Online18 Nov 2022
Publication process dates
Submitted20 Jul 2022
Deposited22 Nov 2022
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