Surgical Wound Care: A Survey of Parental Knowledge and Expectations

Sarthak Tandon, Kirby R. Qin, Ramesh M. Nataraja, Maurizio Pacilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Parents play an integral role in postoperative wound care. Existing parental knowledge is potentially variable. Our aim was to evaluate for any gaps or misconceptions in the parental knowledge base to determine the need for targeted educational programs. Methods: Parents of children presenting to a tertiary pediatric center were surveyed in the preoperative stage. This consisted of 26 questions relating to wound healing, complications, and postoperative care. Participants were asked to complete the questionnaire for a same-day, clean abdominal procedure with a 2 cm incision to standardize responses. Expert responses from pediatric surgeons were utilized as a benchmark for nominating concordant answers. Results: 200 parents were surveyed. 129 parents (64.5%) had previous experience with surgical wound care. Only 64.5% of parents recognized the most concerning features of wound infection, with 65% of parents correctly identifying when infection is most likely to occur. Parents misjudged the time required before return to school (73.5%) and physical activity (51%). More than half of parents (51.5%) expected postoperative antibiotics to be given. Contrary to our routine surgical practice, 80% and 46% of parents respectively felt that regular dressing changes and application of antiseptics to the wound were necessary postoperatively. Conclusions: There is a deficit of parental knowledge concerning wound healing in children. Therefore, there is a requirement for standardization of advice provided to parents with regards to wound and dressing care, development of wound complications, antibiotic and antiseptic use, and the timing of return to regular activities. Type of study: Survey. Level of evidence: III

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2606-2613
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Parent/guardian education
  • Parent/guardian survey
  • Postoperative care
  • Wound care

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