Early Parental Support in Child Healthcare Parental groups - a challenge in a changing society
Sammanfattning: Ninety-nine per cent of all parents visit child healthcare centres (CHCs) andall parents in Sweden are invited to parental groups organized by the childhealth service (CHS) during their child’s first year, but only 40% choose toattend. The overall aim of this thesis was to elucidate the group-based earlyparental support provided by the Swedish CHS from the perspective of CHCnurses and parents. A total of 156 CHC nurses from 31 of 33 municipalities(Paper I) and 143 parents from 71 different parental groups at 27 CHCs(Paper II) in one Swedish county completed two different online questionnairesabout their experiences of the parental groups provided by the CHS.The findings showed that almost all CHC nurses managed several parentalgroups for both first-time parents and parents with more than one child.Specialized parental groups, e.g. groups for single parents, parents of twinsand parents with a foreign background, were managed by half of the nursesand were more common at those CHCs organized as family centres. Thenurses defined parental groups primarily as a place where parents couldconnect and create a network and secondarily as a place for education.Parents reported that the meetings were meaningful and felt that their role asparents was strengthened due to the parental groups. More than half of theparents had met someone who they socialized with outside of the meetings.Many of the topics addressed in the parental groups were found to beimportant by both the CHC nurses and the parents, but the parents desired agreater focus on topics such as parenting, child-related communityinformation and sex and relationships. CHC nurses were found to beknowledgeable, committed and well-prepared, and parents felt that theycould express their opinion and talk to the other parents as much as theywanted. The nurses however, felt that group leadership was a difficult andchallenging task and expressed a need for education in group dynamics andgroup leadership.
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