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Parents anxious over their kid’s urological surgery

24 Nov 2020
Healthcare professionals dealing with hospitalised children need to work hand-in-hand with the parents – to create a less stressful hospital stay for the children.

Having a child who undergoes repetitive urological surgeries leads to heightened parental anxiety, a recent study has found. Having an immediate family member who underwent the same surgery is a strong risk factor for parental anxiety.

Researchers enrolled 163 patients under 14 years old who had undergone either primary or recurrent urological surgeries. Parents were also included. Parental anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Participants were categorized depending on whether they had received primary (n=84) or recurrent (n=79) surgery, as well as according to surgery type.

Before the surgeries, parents of children scheduled to undergo recurrent surgeries were more anxious than when kids were receiving primary operations. This was true for both minor and major surgeries; in conjunction, parents had higher STAI scores for the latter type of surgery. Across all types of surgeries, mothers tended to be more anxious prior to it than fathers.

Multivariate logistic regression analysis was then performed to identified several risk factors for parental state anxiety associated with the child’s surgery.

Surgical status emerged as a strong risk factor, with mothers of kids undergoing recurrent operations being more than 17 times as likely to feel anxious than primary-surgery counterparts (odds ratio [OR], 17.892, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 6.993–45.781; p<0.001). Though to a much lower degree, recurrent surgery also significantly exacerbated anxiety risk in fathers (OR, 5.930, 95 percent CI, 2.080–7.952; p=0.035).

For both mothers (OR, 4.457, 95 percent CI, 2.147–8.157; p=0.032) and fathers (OR, 2.774, 95 percent CI, 1.870–5.190; p=0.001), having someone in the immediate family or immediate vicinity who had undergone the same procedure also increased the risk of anxiety.

Other risk factors included maternal and paternal age and educational level, the child’s own fear score, each other’s anxiety scores, the perceived completeness of information about the procedure, and, in the case of recurrent procedures, the number of re-operations the child had already undergone.

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