Background/aim The use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) remains limited despite international guidelines for diarrhoeal disease management. This study was done to assess the perceptions and practices of ORT among caregivers in the management of diarrhoeal disease.
Materials and methods A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the Paediatric Department of Cork University Hospital, Ireland. The study population consisted of parents/guardians of children attending the Paediatric Day Ward or Paediatric Outpatient Department. A questionnaire consisting of 30 questions was originally designed by the first author to include all the study variables, and was given to the participants.
Results Out of 402 respondents, 76.6% (n=308) could describe diarrhoea correctly and perceived it as a serious illness. 81.3% (n=327) of participants knew about ORT but only 27.2% (n=89) agreed it was an ideal first line of management of diarrhoeal disease. Diarrhoeal episodes in the preceding 12 months were reported predominantly in children under the age of 5 years (p<0.001). 48.8% (n=196) reported their children having diarrhoea at least once in the preceding twelve months. Only 8.7% (n=17) of caregivers used ORT for diarrhoeal management.
Conclusion Poor uptake of ORT appears to be due to caregivers’ negative perceptions of ORT. This emphasises the need for correct and adequate education.
- oral rehydration therapy
- acute gastroenteritis
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