Aims. This paper reports an investigation of the nature and strength of parental beliefs about their participation in their children's day-care surgery as well as demonstrated parental behaviours during the immediate postrecovery period.
Background. Parents want to participate in their children's hospital care but their behaviour does not reflect their intention. Parents’ beliefs about their role in the hospital may be a factor influencing the way they help their children at the course of a day-care surgery.
Research methods. A descriptive correlative design was used. French and English speaking parents of 3–12-year old children were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire which comprised 42 items measuring the intensity of attitudes, norms and sense of control and their influence in predicting their intention to participate in hospital care. Parents’ behaviours during the first hour following the child's return from the recovery room were video-recorded.
Results. A total of 220 parents participated in the study. Parental beliefs about participation in care were quite strong in terms of subjective norms, sense of control and attitude, predicting 64% of their intention to participate. Parents demonstrated mostly attitude type behaviours, while the level of demonstrated helping behaviours was somewhat low.
Conclusions. Parents can be valuable partners in ambulatory care settings. Clinicians and health care managers should aim at establishing a true partnership with parents, in order to improve the quality of care given to children and their family in hospital and at home.