Enhancing Parent Participation with Hospitalized Children Using the Gentle Hair Brushing Routine

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Abstract

This article describes the development of a structured routine designed to enhance parental participation with their hospitalized child. The everyday task of hair brushing was developed into a structured routine and taught to parents (primary caregivers) of hospitalized children. The aim of the structured routine was to increase the amount of time parents talk, touch, and listen to their hospitalized child. A successful pilot study of the Gentle Hair Brushing Routine for Hospitalized Children© was conducted with 10 parents regarding their participation and specific recommendations for implementation in pediatric hospital settings. The structured routine takes a total of 15 minutes from start to finish to learn and implement. Nurses, child life specialists, and behavioral health providers are all appropriate professionals to teach this technique to parents. This structured technique has the potential to enhance parental confidence, establish a ritual and routine that can be continued after discharge from the hospital, and increase a sense of connection between parents and their hospitalized child.

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