Background and Purpose: Just over 15% of children under 18 years of age in the UnitedStates, or approximately 11.2 million children, are estimated to have special healthcare needs.Although children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN) make up a small percentage of thepediatric population, they account for over one third of pediatric medical care. Parental attitudesregarding immunization play a significant role in vaccination rates among children. The purposeof this research is to explore parental attitudes regarding immunization of CSHCN.Methods: This qualitative study focused on parental perceptions and beliefs aboutimmunizations for CSHCN. Sixteen participants, who were parents of CSHCN from onepediatric specialty care clinic participated in focus groups. Institutional review board approvalwas received prior to data collection.Results: While the purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of parents ofCSHCN regarding immunizations, analysis revealed parents simply wanted to share their lifeexperiences rearing these children, with issues of immunization being secondary. Participantsdescribed the experience of caring for their CSHCN related to isolationism and the weight ofresponsibility as leader of their childs care. Additionally, the majority of parents thatparticipated viewed childhood vaccinations in a positive light. Parents acknowledged that it wasimportant for their own children to receive vaccines. Participants also recognized that it wasimportant for the community to be vaccinated in order to protect their child. However, the desirefor individualized care, at times, caused parents to disregard the immunization schedulerecommended by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.Conclusions: Health care providers can be effective and influential members of the healthcare team by engaging in community based education about vaccines, building trustingrelationships with parents and helping parents understand the need to follow the recommendedschedule for immunizations.



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child health services, chronic disease, immunizations, patient care team, patient-centered, care



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Nursing Commons