New study aims to understand how parents choose healthcare interventions for children

Medic and young girl

Researchers are inviting parents to have their say in the development of future healthcare services for children by sharing their views on how they have managed common health issues, including the treatments and services they access and what factors influence these decisions.

Associate Professor Matthew Leach from the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is leading the research. He says that this information is pivotal to the future of healthcare delivery for children in Australia.

“We know parents use a range of treatments and services to manage common health conditions in their children, but we do not fully understand what these treatments and services are, and why parents choose to use them,” said Associate Professor Leach.

“The answers sought in this study will help determine future healthcare priorities and ensure health services are delivering safe and effective care to children.”

In the first five years of life, children will encounter many short-term health issues such as cough, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. In most cases, these conditions are easily resolved without involvement of a health professional and instead, can be managed by parents at home.

However, there is still some uncertainty as to the types of treatments that Australian parents use to manage these childhood issues, why certain interventions are chosen and where information is sought from regarding these treatments.

The results of this study will generate important information to influence health service planning and the development of appropriate health education and public health strategies.

“We must understand how parents and their children engage with the healthcare system to be able to help parents make informed decisions about the management of common health conditions,” said Associate Professor Leach.

“Ultimately, it is about improving child health outcomes through the development of informed future health services that are appropriate, accessible and acceptable to parents.”

How to participate

The online study is open to parents of children aged 0-5 years, Australia-wide. The survey is anonymous and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete. Participants are eligible to enter a draw to win one of four A$50 pre-paid Visa cards.

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