Child with fever laying in her bed. Photo: Emma Westin

Doctoral project: Fever in young children – Parents’ and Caregivers’ Experiences of Guidance

The goal is to, based on parents’ and caregivers’ experiences of guidance, create an action plan for parents, that can provide uniform and clear information on points of contact when they are worried about their child's fever.

Facts about the project

Project manager
Emma Westin
Other project members at Linnaeus University
Carina Elmqvist, Region Kronoberg; Anders Svensson, Linnaeus University; Märta Sund Levander Linköpings University
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Region Kronoberg
Region Kronoberg (FoU samt Barn- och Kvinnocentrum)
Sept 1st 2019 - preliminary spring 2027
Health and caring Sciences (Department of Health and Caring Sciences (Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)
Research group

More about the project

On average, a preschool child has between 6-10 respiratory infections per year with or without fever. Children who are otherwise healthy are usually able to handle a fever without difficulty and they can most often be cared for at home. Despite this, fever in children can cause feelings of anxiety and helplessness in parents. It is natural to seek medical advice when the feeling of anxiety becomes strong and parents have a right to receive the information they need to make the best decisions for their child’s wellbeing. The task of healthcare is to prepare parents on how to deal with fever in children and to create a sense of security.

Previous research however, shows that parent encounters with healthcare do not always go well. The parents can get different information depending on who they talk to. There is also a problem with incorrect information and mixed messages being received. Sometimes healthcare professionals give parents the feeling that they have sought medical care unnecessarily. Part of the problem is that the guidelines that include fever in children are not generally adapted to all levels of care, which may be a reason for healthcare professionals in different units not giving the same advice.

Parents need clear, unambiguous and, above all, uniform advice, and it is the nurses’ responsibility to create a trusting relationship with the child and its parents in order to be able to plan and provide care. However, in order for parents to be able to make informed decisions (which in turn increases autonomy), information on fevers and side effect alleviation is not always enough. Parents also need to know the signs that require them to seek medical attention for their children and what level of care to seek out. To achieve this, there is a need for a unified action plan that can be used by both parents and nurses.

The project is part of the research in CISE (Centre of Interprofessional Collaboration within Emergency care).