'I Thought It Was Just a Pimple': A Study Examining the Parents of Pacific Children's Understanding and Management of Skin Infections in the Home
Hospital admissions of young children due to serious skin infections have increased throughout the Greater Wellington Region over the years. Pacific children make up a high proportion of these hospital admissions. While the literature suggests that these admissions are highly preventable through proper care and management of skin sores at home, little is known about parents' knowledge and practices at home when a child is known to have a skin sore. This descriptive exploratory study explored the management of skin sores and wound care in the homes of 11 Pacific children from the Greater Wellington region prior to being admitted with skin infections. Mothers of 11 children who were aged between three months and 15 years were interviewed using a semi-structure interview schedule that was designed to understand parents' knowledge, understanding and perceptions of wound care, how the early signs of infections were recognised and where and when to seek medical help. The availability of first aid kits and their utilisation by families in their homes as simple preventative measures were also explored. The interviews were transcribed and a descriptive qualitative content analysis process undertaken. Overall the study found that parents engaged in active roles in an effort to maintain and sustain the wellbeing of their children once the signs and symptoms of skin infections were identified. The key findings are categorised under four main themes, 1) Parents in action; 2) The search for healing and cure; 3) Household activities; and 4) Health information for parents. Implications and recommendations for health professionals centre on the need for improved information for parents and for a review of practice surrounding skin infections in primary health care settings. Relevant information on skin infections on children to be addressed in the Well Child Tamariki Ora booklet is also recommended.