Research Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 5, P329-335, October 1999

Parental preparation of children for routine physical examinations

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      Preparation of the child and parents/caretakers for health care events is expected to decrease a child's anxiety and uncooperative behaviors. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the methods of preparation (discussion, reading, play, other) and levels of discussion used by parents in readying their preschool and school-age children for six selected events during routine physical examinations. A phone survey was conducted to all parents of children, ages 2 to 12 years, who visited an academic nursing center or public school for a routine physical examination (n=132). The events are “listen to heart”, “look in ears”, “take temperature”, “feel the stomach”, “look at the throat”, and “give a shot”. The most common method of preparation parents used was discussion that consisted largerly of procedural information rather than a reciprocal dialogue with the child. Preschool children were told what the health care provider would do and what they should do during the physical examination more often than school-age children.
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