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Information that informs rather than alienates families with disabled children: developing a model of good practice

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Publication details

JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
DatePublished - Mar 2002
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)74-81
Original languageEnglish


The importance to families with disabled children of relevant and accessible information about services has been illustrated in numerous studies and was re-emphasised by the Department of Health's 'quality protects' initiative. Indeed, the provision of information and the importance of keeping families informed is frequently viewed as a significant factor within both the concept of empowerment and the facilitation of enabling and participatory processes for service users and their families. However, although there has been considerable research highlighting parents' information needs, there has been significantly less exploration of how parents would actually like to receive this information. This paper seeks to bridge this knowledge gap and also discusses the empowering potential of user-friendly information. Drawing upon data collected from focus group discussions with parents caring for children with a range of disabilities or chronic illnesses, this paper explores how the families of service users would like to receive information. In particular, it examines the criteria by which parents judge the quality of information and their ideas as to what constitutes good practice, especially in terms of how information is presented, its content and the way it is delivered. Using these ideas and criteria, the paper begins to develop a model of good information practice that is both three-dimensional and personally interactive. Indeed, parents' desire for a combination of personal guidance and good-quality information, whether in the form of in-depth booklets or shorter directories, is viewed as being of paramount importance and, furthermore, as having an important empowering potential.

    Research areas

  • empowerment, families with disabled children, key workers, user-friendly information, SEVERE PHYSICAL-DISABILITY, PARENTS

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