We studied the dialogue between telephone operators at medical emergency communication centres in Norway and parents of children later diagnosed with sudden infant death syndrome. The aim was to understand how the parents experienced the communication with the telephone operators. The qualitative method involved semi-structured interviews. We interviewed six respondents from urban areas and five from rural areas. An important finding was that all the parents were satisfied with the resuscitation instructions they received. It was also perceived as important that the emergency operators expressed empathy and care. We believe that it is not merely the quality of the resuscitation attempts that the operators' efforts should be measured against. It is also important that the operators provide good explanations and express emotional support. Our findings indicate that this will be enormously appreciated, even if callers do not feel that they are capable of performing optimum resuscitation.
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