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Lene Bastrup

Coping with the unfamiliar: How do children cope with hospitalization in relation to acute and/or critical illness? A qualitative metasynthesis

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The aim of this study was to identify and describe how young children cope with hospitalization in relation to acute and/or critical illness. The study is a qualitative metasynthesis inspired by the approach described by Sandelowski and Barroso. Based on an exhaustive literature search, six studies were included. Data were analyzed through a taxonomic analysis. The findings revealed that the hospitalized children face a variety of challenges during admission to the hospital due to acute and/or critical illness. The main challenge was that hospitalized children strive to cope with different aspects of ‘the unfamiliar’ that emerge in their illness treatment and hospital stay. The unfamiliar refers to unknown experiences on a physical, emotional, and relational level. Subsequently, children cope with the unfamiliar by striving to convert the hospital stay into something more similar to everyday life, using strategies to secure basic needs and constructing familiarity in the hospital stay. The consequences of the children’s coping behavior are discussed and how children strive to keep their integrity intact during illness and hospitalization are revealed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Pages (from-to)534-550
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

    Research areas

  • Acute or critical illness, children, children’s experiences, children’s perspective, coping strategies, hospitalization, qualitative metasynthesis

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