Document Detail

First diagnosis of severe mental handicap: characteristics of unsatisfactory encounters between doctors and parents.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2937153     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper presents data from a study of 190 parents and discusses their reactions to being told that their child was likely to be severely mentally handicapped. Dissatisfaction was related to the child's age when the parents were first told about the impairment, which was itself related to the diagnosis of the child's condition. Parents of children with non-specific handicap were often not informed about the impairment until the second or third year of the child's life, while parents of children with Down's Syndrome were usually informed within a week of birth. The paper compares these two groups of parents and discusses the reasons for their dissatisfaction. The study showed that parents valued early acknowledgement of the problem, a sympathetic approach on the part of medical professionals, and the sharing of information and uncertainty. The reasons why parents of mentally handicapped children may continue to feel dissatisfied are discussed in the light of the theoretical literature on doctor-patient communication.
Parents of 190 severely mentally handicapped children served by two health districts in southeast England were interviewed to determine their reactions on being told of their children's handicap. The degree of satisfaction was positively related to early disclosure, a sympathetic approach by health personnel, sharing of information, and acknowledgement of uncertainty in diagnosis and prognosis. Parents of children with Down's syndrome, which can be diagnosed early, were generally more satisfied than parents whose children had handicaps of unknown pathology. Parents who encountered evasion, denial, and delay were dissatisfied. The authors briefly describe several lines of research aimed at improving professional parent communication.
L Quine; J Pahl
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  22     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  1986  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1986-04-10     Completed Date:  1986-04-10     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  53-62     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
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MeSH Terms
Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
Child, Preschool
Consumer Satisfaction*
Disabled Persons
Down Syndrome / diagnosis
Education of Mentally Retarded
Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
Patient Education as Topic
Professional-Family Relations*

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