Parental experiences of children with developmental dysplasia of the hip: a qualitative study

WWES Theunissen*, M. C. van der Steen, M. R. van Veen, Fqmp van Douveren, M. A. Witlox, J. J. Tolk

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of Dutch parents of children with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), treated with a Pavlik harness, during the diagnostic and treatment process in the first year of life. DESIGN: A qualitative study by means of semistructured interviews was conducted between September and December 2020. Qualitative content analysis was applied to code, categorise and thematise data. SETTING: A large, tertiary referral centre for paediatric orthopaedics in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sample of parents of children aged younger than 1 year, who were treated for DDH with a Pavlik harness, were interviewed until data saturation was achieved. A total of 20 interviews with 22 parents were conducted. RESULTS: Five main themes emerged: (1) positive experiences with professionals and peers, (2) insufficient information, (3) treatment concerns, (4) difficulties parenting and (5) emotional burden. Most prominent features that resonated across the interviews which led to insecurity by parents were: insufficient pre-hospital information, unfiltered online information and the lack of overview of the patient journey. CONCLUSION: This study offers novel insights into parental experiences in DDH care. Parents were generally satisfied with DDH care provided by the hospital. The biggest challenges were to cope with (1) insufficient and unfiltered information, (2) the lack of patient journey overview and (3) practical problems and emotional doubts, which led to concerns during treatment. Future research and interventions should focus on optimising information provision and guidance with practical and emotional support for parents of children with DDH.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere062585
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: This study was financially supported by the Commission of Research and
Innovation of the Máxima Medical Centre, grant number: 2020.coi.014.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


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