Mothers' Process of Decision Making for Gastrostomy Placement

Brotherton, Ailsa M and Abbott, Janice orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9851-1236 (2011) Mothers' Process of Decision Making for Gastrostomy Placement. Qualitative Health Research, 22 (5). pp. 587-594. ISSN 1049-7323

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In this article we present the findings of an exploration of mothers’ discourses on decision making for gastrostomy placement for their child. Exploring in-depth interviews of a purposive sample, we analyzed the mothers’ discourses of the decision-making process to understand how their experiences of the process influenced their subsequent constructions of decision making. Mothers negotiated decision making by reflecting on their personal experiences of feeding their child, either orally or via a tube, and interwove their background experiences with the communications from members of the health care team until a decision was reached. Decision making was often fraught with difficulty, resulting in anxiety and guilt. Experiences of decision making ranged from perceived coercion to true choice, which encompasses a truly child-centered decision. The resulting impact of the decision-making process on the mothers was profound. We conclude with an exploration of the implications for clinical practice and describe how health care professionals can support mothers to ensure that decision-making processes for gastrostomy placement in children are significantly improved.

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