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Southern Cross University researchers have announced a new study to better understand how parents choose healthcare interventions for their children.

Researchers at SCU are inviting parents to have their say in the development of future healthcare services for children by sharing their views on how they manage common health issues, including treatments and services accessed and what factors influence these decisions.

Associate Professor Matthew Leach from the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is leading the research, and says the information requested is pivotal to the future of healthcare delivery for children in Australia.

‘We know parents use a range of treatments and services to manage common health conditions in their children, but we do not fully understand what these treatments and services are, and why parents choose to use them,’ he said.

‘The answers sought in this study will help determine future healthcare priorities and ensure health services are delivering safe and effective care to children,’ said Associate Professor Leach.

NCNM Associate Professor Matthew Leach

Health decisions in early years crucial

In the first five years of life, children encounter many short-term health issues such as cough, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. In most cases, these conditions are easily resolved without involvement of a health professional and can be managed by parents at home.

However there’s still some uncertainty as to the types of treatments that Australian parents use to manage these childhood issues, why certain interventions are chosen and where information is sought regarding these treatments.

SCU researchers say the results of the new study will generate important information to influence health service planning and the development of appropriate health education and public health strategies.

‘We must understand how parents and their children engage with the healthcare system to be able to help parents make informed decisions about the management of common health conditions,’ said Associate Professor Leach.

‘Ultimately, it is about improving child health outcomes through the development of informed future health services that are appropriate, accessible and acceptable to parents,’ he said.

The online study is open to parents of children aged 0-5 years, Australia-wide. The survey is anonymous and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete. Participants are eligible to enter a draw to win one of four A$50 pre-paid Visa cards.

Parents can find further information on the study, or complete the survey via this link.

This research study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at Southern Cross University.

The National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at SCU is an internationally recognised centre of excellence and innovation in naturopathic medicine and health education, research and practice.