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Enhancing the efficacy of psychoeducational interventions for paediatric patients in a randomised controlled trial: methodological considerations

Authors

  • William HC Li,

    1. Authors:William HC Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Oi KJ Chung, MPH, Teaching Consultant, Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
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  • Oi KJ Chung

    1. Authors:William HC Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Oi KJ Chung, MPH, Teaching Consultant, Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
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Dr William Ho Cheung Li, 4/F, William M. W. Mong Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China; The Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. Telephone: +852 9176 1546.
E-mail:william3@hku.hk

Abstract

Aim.  This paper described a case study of a randomised controlled trial with the aim to illuminate how the intervention described takes into account the important methodological considerations for enhancing the efficacy of psychoeducational interventions for paediatric patients.

Background.  Many nursing intervention studies commit a Type II error despite the fact that the intervention is effective. Lack of attention given to the threats of validity of an intervention study may lead to inaccurate inference about the efficacy of the intervention study, thereby precluding any definitive conclusions being drawn.

Design.  A case study of a randomised controlled trial was described.

Method.  Two hundred and three Hong Kong Chinese children, admitted for elective surgery, were invited to participate in the study. By using a simple complete randomisation method, 97 children were assigned to the experimental group and received therapeutic play intervention and 106 children were assigned to the control group and received routine information preparation.

Results.  Children received preoperative therapeutic play intervention experienced lower anxiety levels, fewer negative emotions and lower heart rates and mean arterial blood pressures.

Conclusion.  This case study illustrates that the more a measure is sensitive to differentiate between the experimental and control groups, the greater the likelihood of documenting intervention efficacy. Besides, the timing of measuring a dependent variable that matches with peak response to an intervention is crucial in evaluating the efficacy of an intervention. Additionally, outcome measures that are sensitive enough to differentiate between the experimental and control groups are extremely important to ensure greater accuracy in evaluating the efficacy of psychoeducational interventions.

Relevance to clinical practice.  It is anticipated that designing an effective psychoeducational intervention research design can facilitate the development of holistic and quality care in preparing children for hospitalisation.

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