University helps children with acute illnesses

Date 12.11.2015

The contract will begin a project designed to help parents when their children are struck down with acute illnesses such as chest infections, meningitis, ear infections, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The project, called the ‘Safety Netting Information for Parents (SNIP) Study’, is a collaboration with Leicester University and the University of Oxford, and in this first stage will review the research literature and information available to help parents know when to seek help for a sick child.

The idea for the research came initially from my PhD research which explored family management of acute childhood illness at home. During this research I found that parents often reported resorting to information resources to help them decide whether or not to take their child to see a doctor. They were concerned not to bother the doctor unnecessarily.

Dr Sarah Neill, Senior Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, School of Health

Sarah linked up with Dr Monica Lakhanpaul, Consultant Community Paediatrician and Senior Lecturer from the University of Leicester, who had been working on a project looking at childhood fever with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Her research also found that parents wanted more information to help them manage the child’s illness themselves. Monica was also involved in developing the Spotting the Sick Child resource for health care professionals. Together with Dr Matthew Thompson, Senior Clinical Scientist and Oxfordshire GP – whose research focuses on early signs of serious illness in children – Sarah and Monica are looking to develop a similar resource for parents of children under five years of age.

Central to the SNIP study is a parent panel, who are providing the research team with essential advice on the parent’s view point at each step in the process.

The SNIP study has in principle support from Department of Health, Royal College of Nursing, NHS Direct/Choices and the College of Emergency Medicine.