Background Against a backdrop of recommendations for increasing access to and uptake of early surgical intervention for children with medically intractable epilepsy, it is important to understand how parents and professionals decide to put children forward for epilepsy surgery and what their decisional support needs are. Aim The aim of this study was to explore how parents and health professionals make decisions regarding putting children forward for pediatric epilepsy surgery. Methods Individual interviews were conducted with nine parents of children who had undergone pediatric epilepsy surgery at a specialist children's hospital and ten healthcare professionals who made up the children's epilepsy surgery service multidisciplinary healthcare team (MDT). Three MDT meetings were also observed. Data were analyzed thematically. Findings Four themes were generated from analysis of interviews with parents: presentation of surgery as a treatment option, decision-making, looking back, and interventions. Three themes were generated from analysis of interviews/observations with health professionals: triangulating information, team working, and patient and family perspectives. Discussion Parents wanted more information and support in deciding to put their child forward for epilepsy surgery. They attempted to balance the potential benefits of surgery against any risks of harm. For health professionals, a multidisciplinary approach was seen as crucial to the decision-making process. Advocating for the family was perceived to be the responsibility of nonmedical professionals. Conclusion Decision-making can be supported by incorporating families into discussions regarding epilepsy surgery as a potential treatment option earlier in the process and by providing families with additional information and access to other parents with similar experiences.
Bibliographical note© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
- healthcare professionals
- qualitative research