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The health, social and educational needs of children who have survived meningitis and septicaemia: the parents' perspective

10 Oct 2013

Background:
Survivors of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia can experience a range of after-effects. There is little published research on the needs and provision of aftercare for children surviving bacterial meningitis and septicaemia.
Methods:
Mixed methods study employing a survey and follow-up interviews with a sample of survey participants recruited from Meningitis Research Foundation's member database and social media.
Results:
Of 194 eligible survey respondents, 77% reported at least moderate short-term after-effects, and 57% a need for aftercare or support. Most parents reported that their child received a hearing test (98%) and follow-up appointment with a paediatrician (66%). Psychosocial after-effects were most common and the greatest need was for educational support. About half of participants felt their children's needs for aftercare were met. We conducted interviews with 18 parents. Findings suggest access could be limited by: parents' inability to navigate systems in place, child's age, and delayed identification of sequelae. Parents felt a comprehensive explanation of possible after-effects on discharge from hospital was required, and found uncertain prognoses difficult. Good communication between professionals enabled a service tailored to the child's needs.
Conclusions:
Our study supports the NICE and SIGN guidelines and highlights areas for improvement in the aftercare of these children.

Date: 
10 October 2013

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