Translational Research—Stressful and Overwhelming Challenges of Children’s Illness for Parents and Families

Background: When children become ill and are hospitalized, this creates stress in children, their parents, and families and creates multiple challenges – how to help children overcome illness and become well again, how to survive acute life-threatening illness, how to manage uncertainty about the child’s prognosis, how to help children meet their developmental demands when challenged by illness and hospitalization, how to provide caregiving for children in hospital and at home, how to live with and provide caregiving to manage chronic conditions how to achieve a new normal. Each of these challenges is inherently overwhelming and stressful for parents and families. 

The 25 articles in this issue of the Journal of Pediatric Nursing present new evidence and intervention strategies to address the challenges faced by children, their parents and families across the three broad categories: (a) health of adolescents and school-age children; (b) parenting stress and caregiving; and (c) interventions for improving the quality of care for hospitalized children.

Link to article here


MHF briefing: The Mental health of young women and girls: how to prevent a growing crisis

MHF briefing girls

The Mental Health Foundation has published While your back was turned: how mental health policymakers stopped paying attention to the specific needs of women and girls.   This paper aims to improve the understanding of decision makers of how to prevent mental health problems in young women.  It identifies pressure points and social determinants of mental health and wellbeing in young women and girls, to support the development of tailored mental health guidance aimed at preventing mental health problems for those at highest risk.


BMJ Article: Preschool children who are frequent attenders in emergency departments: an observational study of associated demographics and clinical characteristics



Background Unscheduled visits to emergency departments (ED) have increased in the UK in recent years. Children who are repeat attenders are relatively understudied.

Aims To describe the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of preschoolers who attend ED a large District General Hospital.

Method/study design Observational study analysing routinely collected ED operational data. Children attending four or more visits per year were considered as ‘frequent attenders’. Poisson regression was used with demographic details (age, sex, ethnicity, sociodemographic status) to predict number of attendances seen in the year. We further analysed detailed diagnostic characteristics of a random sample of 10% of attendees.

Main findings 10 169 patients visited in the 12-month period with 16 603 attendances. 655 individuals attended on 3335 occasions. 6.4% of this population accounted for 20.1% of total visits. In the 10% sample, there were 304 attendances, and 69 (23%) had an underlying chronic long-standing illness (CLSI). This group were 2.4 times more likely to be admitted as inpatients compared with those without such conditions, median length of stay of 6.2 hours versus 2.5 hours (p=NS).

Conclusions Frequent ED attenders fall broadly into two distinct clinical groups: those who habitually return with self-limiting conditions and those with or without exacerbation of underlying CLSI. Both groups may be amenable to both additional nursing and other forms of community support to enhance self-care and continuity of care. Further research is required to increase our understanding of specific individual family and health system factors that predict repeat attendance in this age group.

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Adolescent health literacy and health behaviors: A systematic review

health literacy
Image: Google Images



To systematically review and synthesize literature on the relationship between health literacy and health behaviors in adolescents.


Searches in PsychInfo, PUBMED/MEDLINE, and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) were conducted. Studies were included if they reported original data on the relationship between health literacy and a health behavior in adolescents, were written in English, and the population did not have a chronic illness or disability.


Seventeen studies met inclusionary criteria. Definition and measurement of health literacy, and theoretical frameworks varied across studies. Studies investigated the relationship between functional and media health literacy and adolescent health behaviors, thirteen reported significant, linear relationships.


The results suggest that there is a meaningful relationship between health literacy and adolescents’ health behaviors. To fully understand the role of health literacy in adolescents’ health decision-making, future research should use comprehensive definitions and measures of health literacy, and integrate health behavior and adolescent development theoretical frameworks in study design.

Link to article in Journal of Adolescence here

NICE Guileline update: Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis


Image: Pixabay


This guideline covers recognising and diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children and young people from birth up to 19 years. It also covers referral. It aims to improve the experience of children, young people and those who care for them.

In December 2017, we reviewed the evidence and added ADHD as a factor associated with an increased prevalence of autism and changed references from DSM-4 to DSM-5.

NICE has also produced a guideline on autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management.