Background In 2001a study was performed exploring the parental experience of our combined retrieval service for critically ill children, (Colville, Orr & Gracey 2003). The results of this study changed the way the service was provided and introduced the opportunity for a family member to travel with their child in the ambulance for the transfer. Ten years on it was decided to repeat a questionnaire to gain an insight into how families perceived the current service and seek further ways to improve the parental experience at this stressful time.
Method Having gained approval from the Research and Develop team at the base hospital a questionnaire was given to all families whose child was transferred by the South Thames Retrieval Service to the Evelina Children’s Hospital during January 2012.
Results During this period 43 questionnaire were returned. The majority felt the service was already at a very high standard citing phrases, ‘caring and reassuring’, ‘made to feel special’. One family requested more information pertaining to the drugs used during the stabilisation and transfer process and one family felt the team’s projected timings could have been more accurate for them to organise their other family responsibilities.
Conclusions This study has been insightful into the parent’s experiences of having their child transferred by a retrieval team. Actions are underway to address areas highlighted by families as discussed above.
We plan to replicate this study in other regions to gain a national perspective of parents’ perceptions of the transfer process.