Call for sick mothers to participate in study

Date: 02/11/2009

Researchers from the University of Western Sydney are looking to interview mothers who have experienced difficulties caring for their children as a result of illness or disability to find new ways of tailoring their care to better suit their personal situations.

PHD student Tamara Vallido, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, says health care professionals rarely consider maternal responsibilities, but children are often a women's primary concern when they are sick.

Ms Vallido says the issue hasn't been sufficiently examined, and as such the study will help raise awareness among health professionals into the varied needs of female patients.

"In Western countries the standard of mothering is almost impossibly high, so when mothers become ill they often feel extremely anxious about their children," she says.

"It is well documented that hospitalised women want to be acknowledged as mothers and to have their maternal concerns addressed by health professionals, and this study will help bring the issue into the professional arena."

Ms Vallido is interested in finding out if there are common patterns in the experiences of the mothers, and what steps can be taken to make mothering during illness or disability easier.

"By sharing their personal stories, we can better understand how disruptions to the family affect the well being of women over both the short and long term," she says.

"The study will also help determine if their illness or disability affected their relationships with their children, and how health care providers can adapt their treatments to mitigate this."

"Being a mother can be time consuming, challenging and extremely rewarding, and we want to make sure families are supported as much as possible."

Ms Vallido says women interested in taking part can choose to be interviewed over the internet or phone, or take part in a face to face meeting.

"I'm more than happy to meet in person or to talk to them over the telephone, and this will take a little over an hour of their time," she says.

"Otherwise women can email me their stories, and it would only take a few exchanges to fully record their experiences for the study."

"All the information will be confidential, and this study has UWS ethics committee approval."

Mothers over 18 who have been ill or suffered a disability that's interfered with their ability to take care of their child or children are encouraged to contact Tamara Vallido at 0435 044 715, or email



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Mark Smith
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