Research Article

Usefulness and Challenges of Sick Child Care Services for Single Mothers

Author: Ikuko Sobue

1. Abstract 1.1. Objective: To clarify the usefulness and challenges of sick child care services based on users’ characteristics, the use and evaluation of such services by single mothers were examined. 1.2. Methods: A qualitative, descriptive study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted involving 10 single mothers with their written consent to examine: the sick child’s age, the parent’s coping with the child’s sickness, and sick child care service use. 1.3. Results: A large number of the single mothers were low-income, non-regular employees. They needed to continue working even when their children became sick. A daily service fee was too high for them, and forced them to adopt measures that negatively affected their children’s health and safety, such as taking them to nursery schools despite the presence of sickness. They regarded high-quality medical, nursing, and child care services, detailed recording and reporting, and parental guidance provided in sick child care facilities as useful. They trusted facility staff giving considerations for single mothers. 1.4. Conclusion: For single mothers with limited sources of personal support, sick child care services were important social resources for parenting, developmental support, and health assurance. The results suggest the necessity of measures to accommodate service users’ needs, such as reducing service fees for low-income households.