Preparing preschool children and their parents for day surgery

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Faculty of Medicine, Auditorium 101A

Topic of the dissertation

Preparing preschool children and their parents for day surgery

Doctoral candidate

MHSc Heli Kerimaa

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology

Subject of study

Nursing science


Professor Katja Joronen, University of Turku

Second opponent

- -, -


Professor Tarja Pölkki, University of Oulu

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Both traditional and digital methods can be used to prepare families with children for day surgery

In Finland, day surgical procedures for children account for about half of all planned procedures and their share is expected to increase in the coming years. Proper preparation for day surgery can be cost-effective and reduce the fear experienced by children and the stress of parents.

Heli Kerimaa's dissertation research focused on the differences between a traditional method and a mobile application intervention in preparing children for day surgery. Prior to this study, there was little information on the effectiveness of preparation methods on children's fear and their parents' stress, especially regarding the use of digital methods.

The study found that the mobile application intervention used in preparation was as effective as the traditional preparation method and parents were satisfied with both methods. The mobile application intervention reduced the fear experienced by children throughout the day surgery service chain and the stress experienced by parents at home after the procedure. The study emphasized that the usability of the preparation methods along with the content and timing of the preparation as well as family orientation are all important from the parents' point of view when preparing a child for day surgery.

The study was conducted in the children's day surgery unit of the North Ostrobothnia hospital district, where 70 families with children participated. 36 families were randomized to the mobile application intervention group and 34 to the traditional preparation method group. The mobile application contained scheduled preparation material for children and parents, such as videos, fairy tales and written instructions along with electronic preliminary information forms before the day surgical procedure. The traditional preparation method included written instructions to be sent home, as well as a call from the hospital to home the day before the procedure and the opportunity to watch the recording related to the procedure. Preparation for day surgery began two weeks before the child's planned day surgery procedure and continued one week after the procedure.

In conclusion, both traditional and digital preparation methods can be used to prepare families with children for day surgery. The starting point should be the individual needs of families with children and family-oriented nursing work.
Last updated: 26.1.2024