Simone Watkins: What is known about Critical Congenital Heart Disease diagnosis and management experiences from the perspectives of family and healthcare providers? A systematic integrative literature review
Aim: The experience of diagnosis, decision-making and management in critical congenital heart disease is layered with complexity for both families and clinicians. We synthesise the current evidence regarding the family and healthcare provider experience of critical congenital heart disease diagnosis and management.
Method: A systematic integrative literature review was conducted by keyword search of online databases, MEDLINE (Ovid), PsycINFO, Cochrane, cumulative index to nursing and allied health literature (CINAHL Plus) and two journals, the Journal of Indigenous Research and Midwifery Journal from 1990. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to search results with citation mining of final included papers to ensure completeness. Two researchers assessed study quality combining three tools. A third researcher reviewed papers where no consensus was reached. Data was coded and analysed in four phases resulting in final refined themes to summarise the findings.
Results: Of 1,817 unique papers, 22 met the inclusion criteria. The overall quality of the included studies was generally good, apart from three of fair quality. Thematic analysis identified three themes relating to the family experience:
1. The diagnosis and treatment of a critical congenital heart disease child significantly impacts parental health and wellbeing.
2. The way that healthcare and information is provided influences parental response and adaptation, and
3. parental responses and adaptation can be influenced by how and when support occurs.
Conclusion: The experience of diagnosis and management of a critical congenital heart disease child is stressful and life-changing for families. There is little information on the experience of the healthcare provider. Further research is needed into the experience of minority and socially deprived families, and of the healthcare provider, to inform potential interventions at the healthcare provider and institutional levels to improve family experience and support.
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