Non-medical support for parents of children with a cleft lip and palate; what works, when and why?
Evans, Nia Pyrs
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: The birth of a child with cleft lip and palate (CLP) can be emotionally traumatizing for parents, and learning to adjust to their child can be difficult. Support facilitate adjustment and reduces stress, however there is lack of research into the support that these parents receive from family, friends, medical professionals and other organised support networks as a whole, i.e. what they find useful, when and why. Aims: The project aimed to investigate the non-medical support available to parents of children with CLP, what they find useful, why and when. It also aimed to discover if there are differences between mothers and fathers in terms of the support they need. Methods and procedures: A phenomenological approach was used. Two married couples were interviewed, using semi-structured interviews. Findings: Subjects described the non-medical support they received whilst learning to adjust to their child, highlighting aspects which were helpful and unhelpful. There were marked differences between supports needed by mothers and fathers. Parents commented on their internal support network (consisting of parents, friends, spouse and self) with satisfaction, however there was varied satisfaction with medical professionals. A diagnosis at birth resulted in a more difficult adjustment to the child, and lack of support from medical professionals. Conclusion: Findings may guide support networks of parents of children with CLP, as to how they need to be supported, bearing in mind the differences between mothers and fathers.
B.Sc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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