Exploration of children's hospital-based library resources for families in medical crisis: A qualitative approach
Johannessen, Whitney McNay
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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore children's hospital-based library resources for families in medical crisis. Three research questions guided this qualitative study. These three questions were (a) What types of resources and services are offered at a variety of children's hospital-based libraries for families in medical crisis? (b) What types of experiences do participants have when working with patients and families in medical crisis? (c) What are the perceived information needs of families in medical crisis? The study was conducted using an informal, conversational interview approach with medical librarians, a medical librarian assistant, child life specialists, social workers and therapists at three free-standing children's hospitals in North Texas. Ten of the interviews were conducted on-site in the children's hospital-based libraries and the eleventh interview was completed off campus as required by that institution. Transcriptions of the audiotaped interviews and field notes were coded for themes. Data coding and analysis yielded two main themes and five subthemes. The first main theme was the dichotomy of the library's function. The corresponding subthemes were (a) a resource for health information and (b) a connection to the outside world. The second main theme was barriers to obtaining health information. The corresponding subthemes were (a) inconsistent hospital and community marketing, (b) lack of visibility, and (c) lack of 24/7 staff coverage in the library. Recommendations that resulted from this study were: (a) explore children's hospital-based library resources for families in medical crisis at hospitals across the United States, (b) explore children's hospital-based library resources for families in medical crisis internationally, (c) explore parental perception of resources needed during medical crisis, (d) explore patient and parental utilization of the children's hospital-based library resources during and after medical crisis, (e) explore post-crisis adaptive outcomes of families that utilized hospital-based resources during medical crisis, (f) initiate a proactive effort among professionals to market and publicize the children's hospital-based library, (g) increase visibility of the children's hospital-based library staff to compensate for lack of physical visibility of the space, and (h) implement innovative staffing models to accommodate families in medical crisis 24/7.