Analysis

Perplexing presentations in children: how to act on fabricated or induced illness

Guidance for nurses on identifying and safeguarding children at risk

Nurses should be aware of children with perplexing presentations that could have been induced or fabricated and be prepared to put safeguarding procedures in place

  • A parent may fake their child’s condition to obtain sympathetic attention or even a material gain, or simply due to mistaken anxiety
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidance says safeguarding procedures can be invoked even without proof of deliberate deception
  • Such parental actions, behaviours or beliefs may result in physical and emotional abuse and neglect of the child

Children repeatedly brought into healthcare settings with reported symptoms not observed independently by healthcare staff may be cases of fabricated or induced illness, known as FII.

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