A scoping review of the needs of children and other family members after a child’s traumatic injury

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Objective:To review children’s and their families’ needs after a child’s traumatic injury and assessment tools to measure needs.Data sources:Medline, Embase, CINAHL and PsycINFO databases (2005–September 2017) were searched and screened for papers (of any design) investigating children’s and families’ needs after a child’s traumatic physical injury.Review methods:Data regarding children’s and families’ needs were extracted by two independent raters. Methodological quality of the identified papers was not assessed. Thematic content analysis drew out the key needs.Results:A total of 12 studies were identified, involving 932 participants including 105 injured adolescents and 827 family members or professionals. The needs of children under 12 years were identified indirectly from families or professionals. Most studies focussed on traumatic brain injuries. Two groups of needs were identified: person-related and service-related. Person-related needs were categorized into adolescent-specific needs, need for support with cognitive, emotional, social and physical problems and help with practical problems. Service-related needs were categorized into the need for information, educational needs and support during care transitions (specifically access to community-based services). These needs were largely unmet, particularly regarding information, emotional support and care transitions, which were compounded by professionals’ limited understanding of the children’s difficulties. We found no published measurement tools to assess children’s and families’ needs after a child’s traumatic injury.Conclusion:The evidence about children’s and families’ needs following a child’s traumatic injury was limited, but needs for information, emotional support and access to community-based services were consistently unmet.

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