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Developing resilience and self-efficacy in parents of children with disabilities and complex health needs

Exploring the effectiveness of an intervention to engage parents in guided support with nurses

Exploring the effectiveness of an intervention to engage parents in guided support with nurses


Picture: Science Photo Library

The physical, social and emotional stress associated with day-to-day living experienced by some families of children with disabilities and complex health needs is well known.

This paper reported the effectiveness of an intervention which aimed to develop resilience and self-efficacy in parents of children with disabilities and complex health needs.

A total of 16 parents engaged in a series of ‘guided conversations’ with nurses, over a course of six, half-hour ‘contact visits’, held at two-weekly intervals. Conversations focused on emotional coping, support networks and ‘you and your child’.

Parents were also provided with additional support materials in the form of a toolkit. These toolkits included practical exercises and resources, with additional materials introduced during successive visits.

Scope for learning

A range of quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to evaluate the programme. Parents reported feeling better supported, as well as improved self-belief and self-confidence.

Empirical measures confirmed the programme had led to improved active coping, understanding and self-acceptance and reduced self-blame and distress.

The authors suggest the programme may provide a cost-effective approach to early familial support, associated with improved quality of life for family members, as well as wider societal benefits.

There may be scope for learning disability nurses to embrace similar approaches when supporting parents of learning disabled children.


Reference

Whiting M, Nash A, Kendall S et al (2019) Enhancing resilience and self-efficacy in the parents of children with disabilities and complex health needs. Primary Health Care Research & Development. 20, e33, 1–7


Dave Atkinson is an independent consultant nurse

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