Multimedia based health information to parents in the pediatric emergency department - Will it reduce anxiety and increase satisfaction? A randomized controlled study
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Background: Multimedia may be used to improve health information in hospital settings, but scientific studies reporting beneficial effects of this method are few and inconsistent. Aim of study: To study whether multimedia based health information to parents of children with acute breathing difficulties is more effectivethan regular verbal health information, to reduce parental anxiety and increase satisfaction. Material and methods: A randomized, controlled, non-blinded study was conducted on 106 parents in an urban pediatric emergency department (PED) at St. Olav’s University Hospital, Norway, from January to March 2011. Parents were randomized to receive a 15 minutes nurse-led multimedia based health information usingthe website www.syktbarn.no (n=55), or regular verbal health information (n=51). The parents were tested with the survey instruments State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Consumer Emergency Care Satisfaction Scale during the stay in the PED, and by a semi-structured telephone interview 1-2 weeks after discharge. Results: Parental anxiety decreased from arrival to discharge in both the intervention and the control group, but at discharge no significant differences in anxiety and satisfaction with nursing care, teaching and competence were found. 1-2 weeks after discharge, parents in the intervention group were more satisfied with the health information given in the PED (p=.002). Conclusion: A brief nurse-led multimedia based health information using the website www.syktbarn.no, had no immediately effect on parental anxiety and satisfaction during the stay in the PED, but later it contributed to increased parental satisfaction. Relevance: In a busy PED it is a challenge to secure parents’ knowledge about their child’s disease. Internet and multimedia provide new opportunities in health information. Our study suggests an effect of a short web-based multimedia approach, but more studies are needed to determine in more details how multimedia can be used in pediatric emergency medicine.