• Children;
  • Developing Countries;
  • Family-Centred Care;
  • Practice


There is a literature base about the care of children in hospital in developed nations, but little from, or about, developing countries. The aim of this review was to critically examine publications relating to the effect of hospitalization on children and their parents. ‘Parents’, in this context, were considered as the child's natural or adoptive parents, step-parents or any other context of parent–child relationship, in other words, the primary care-giver to the child. Most of the work reviewed from developed countries was sourced from the nursing literature, while in developing countries, the available literature was largely from medicine. Conclusions from developed countries indicated that parents should be allowed to stay in hospital with their child, and that care must be developmental-stage appropriate. Furthermore, staff need to be educated about special needs of children, children should be prepared for hospital admission (if possible) and parents' needs met. In developing countries, the meagre literature available suggested that recognition of the important role parents play in a child's hospitalization is starting to become recognized.