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Enhancing parental experience and improving communication through parental participation on PICU ward rounds
  1. Phillip Ross1,
  2. Susie Willis2,
  3. John Corrigan3,
  4. Heather Keenan4,
  5. Heather Tough5,
  6. Mark Terris6,
  7. Peter Mallett1,
  8. Julie Richardson4,5
  1. 1 Paediatrics, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Paediatric Clinical Psychology, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  3. 3 Occupational Health Service, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, UK
  4. 4 Department of Paediatric Intensive Care, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  5. 5 PICU, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  6. 6 Paediatric Intensive Care, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Phillip Ross, Paediatrics, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK; pross06{at}

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The problem

The adequacy of communication in staff–parent relationships plays a key role in parental experience of intensive care units. Parents’ experiences in intensive care settings are recognised as playing an integral part in defining the quality of care for their child.1

Prior to this initiative, our paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) requested parents to leave during morning ward rounds. This was in keeping with 3 out of the 12 large PICU training centres in the UK. Consultant and senior nursing staff members updated parents following completion of ward rounds; however, timing was variable and dependent on clinical workload.

In our PICU survey, 17% of parents were not fully satisfied about being actively involved in decision-making about the care and treatment of their child. Furthermore, 10% stated they had not discussed their child’s care and treatment with doctors on a daily basis. This was an obvious area for improvement.


We introduced the concept of parents being invited to be present during the daily morning ward rounds in PICU. This project came about in response to some unfavourable parent feedback, alongside some positive staff experiences in other departments. The aims included improved staff–parent communication, enhanced parental perception of care, greater efficiency and an overall more holistic approach to promoting …

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  • Contributors PM and JR conceived, designed, implemented and evaluated the project. SW and JC performed statistical analysis and qualitative feedback assessment. PR evaluated post-evaluation feedback. All significantly contributed to initiative. PR, PM, JR and MT revised and finalised the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.