Using the Booklet

Task 3. Addressing concerns

  • In our programme of research, we have examined many hours of audio-recorded consultations involving RTIs in children, and found that the identification of the parent’s main concerns was often omitted. In addition, parents often complain that their main concern was not addressed.
  • Asking specifically about concerns can be difficult. If not careful, one can sound patronising or give the impression that you have not been listening. However, if concerns are not specifically asked about, the parent will sometimes not share their main worries, for fear of being seen as ‘overly-anxious’ or ‘neurotic’.
  • The following table gives some suggested ways of asking about the parents main concerns.

Some suggestions for asking about concerns

‘There are probably a number of things that are worrying you about this illness, but what would you say is the thing that you are most worried about?’

‘You’ve mentioned the high temperature, is that the thing that is causing you most worry at the moment, or is it something else?’

‘When your child is ill like this it can be pretty worrying, and I just want to make sure that I have a clear understanding of what you are most worried about at the moment. Is it the cough that is worrying you most?

  • Once you have identified what the main concerns are, you can use the information in the ‘Symptom’ sections to help address them.
  • The video clip shows an example of using the booklet as a prompt to exploring the parent’s main concern. It also demonstrates using the ‘Symptom’ sections (in this case Cough / Chesty cough) to help address her concerns.