The family house—A safe haven: A qualitative study of families' experiences staying in a hospital family house during their children's hospitalisation

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Aims: To gain knowledge about families’ experiences while staying in a hospital family house during their child's hospitalisation. Background: When a child is hospitalised with a chronic, serious or life-threatening disease, the entire family is stressed as normal everyday life is disrupted. In Denmark, accompanying the ill child to the paediatric wards is often possible only for one of the parents. Design: This qualitative study takes a phenomenological–hermeneutical approach, exploring the lived experience of families’ everyday life in a hospital family house. Method: The study comprised semi-structured interviews with 33 family members from 15 families who stayed in a hospital family house. The interviews were made in the summer of 2017. The Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research checklist was used as a guideline “see Appendix S1.”. Results: The families experienced the house as a home or a haven where they could stay together as a family. The house provided a quiet and peaceful environment with space for family life and playing. Overall, this gave the families a feeling of togetherness. Conclusion: The families who stayed in the hospital family house experienced the house as a place to breathe freely, that is, as a safe haven. A place with peace and quietness, without “activity efficiency.” In the house, the volunteers offered a very caring and supportive environment including all families in the house and embracing everyday activities. Providing accommodation for the whole family at the hospital family house afforded the family a place where they could stay together and maintain everyday life even though everything around them was, at times, chaotic. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Healthcare professionals should use knowledge about the healing environment to help create havens for families to a hospitalised child. Hospitalised children need safe places where no treatment takes place—therefore, family houses should stay treatment free.

TidsskriftJournal of Clinical Nursing
Sider (fra-til)2276-2284
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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