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Parents' perceptions of assessment and treatment options for their child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Wech, Carla
Jambunathan, Jaya
MS, Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
May 2011
Attention-deficit hyperactivity children; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - Treatment
Assessment and evaluation of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common complaint in primary care. Although, there are ADHD criteria, assessment, and treatment guidelines available to help diagnose a patient, there is variation in the way healthcare providers apply these criteria and guidelines. Medications are often prescribed as a treatment option. It is unknown if other treatment options are offered.Few studies exist on parents' perceptions of assessment and treatment options for their child with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to determine parents' perceptions of the assessment and treatment options for their child diagnosed with ADHD. The theoretical framework used in this study was McCubbin, Thompson, and McCubbin's Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Coping, Adjustment and Adaptation. A descriptive survey design was utilized. The setting was a Midwestern suburban clinic of family practice providers. A convenience sample of 59 parents, 18 years of age and older was obtained from the Midwestern clinic, through a computer generated list of children who were diagnosed with ADHD and were being treated in the clinic. Three instruments were used for data collection: the Child Demographic Questionnaire, the Adult (parent)Demographic Questionnaire, and the Parents' Perception Instrument (PPI), which also comprised one open-ended question. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results indicated that 57% of parents sought a primary care setting for initial treatment of their child with behavioral symptoms. Ninety-two percent of parents perceived that treatment with medication was helpful. Eighty-five percent of children were managed in the primary care setting, even if they were diagnosed in a psychiatric setting. Eighty-five percent of the parents expressed a desire to learn more about ADHD. The results from the open-ended question on the survey indicated that although parents reported they understood ADHD, they indicated a desire to learn more about other treatment options besides medication, learn techniques to communicate with their child, and strategies to discipline their child. By understanding parents' perceptions, the advanced practice nurse can identify parental lack of knowledge about ADHD, educate the family, and assist with offering interventions that would help the family adjust, cope, and deal with this diagnosis. With more ADHD being managed in a primary care setting, it is imperative that advanced practice nurse be prepared and knowledgeable about the assessment and treatment options to work with the family.
A Clinical Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
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