Journal of Pediatric Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Childhood functional constipation (FC) is a worldwide problem with treatment regiments affecting everyday life. Aim: To explore parents´ experiences of living with a child with FC and its impact on everyday family life. Method: A qualitative phenomenological interview study using a reflective lifeworld research approach. Interviews with 15 parents of otherwise healthy children aged 1–14 years affected by FC. Findings: Shame is the driving force making parents put everyday life on hold. The quest for control, self-imposed loneliness, guilt, inadequacy, and frustrating battles become essential parts of everyday life to protect it from FC-related shame. Conclusion: FC has as great an impact on everyday life as any childhood illness. Every part of family life is affected by FC. Continuously family support and guidance are needed. Practice implications: Healthcare professionals need to take FC more seriously, listen to the parents and try to understand their experiences of everyday life to enable custom made care plans with the family-unit in focus. Care with clinical sensitivity might help parents deal with the attendant shame and stigmatization that stem from illness beliefs about FC.
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