Parents of 217 chronically ill children and adolescents were surveyed concerning their opinions about disclosing medical information to schools. The sample consisted of parents of more than one third of the children and adolescents meeting inclusion criteria who were seen at a university-based pediatric clinic during a 10-week period. Parents were asked (1) whether schools need information about 16 health items, (2) who in the school should know, and (3) who should provide this information. Parents' willingness to disclose information was compared with family and child demographic data. Parents strongly believed that (1) teachers need to be informed and (2) parents should be the primary informers. The consensus that schools need information did not vary with family and child demographics. However, parents of children with poor illness prognosis, greater likelihood of emergencies, and visible illnesses were more supportive of disclosure. Most parents indicated that physicians should provide information on 10 of the 16 items. Physicians were viewed as particularly appropriate informers about recognizing emergencies and medication effects. Only 21% of the parents were aware of any prior contact between the medical care giver and the school concerning their child's illness. Thus, parents want schools informed and believe physicians should be involved in providing information.
- Received May 3, 1990.
- Accepted August 14, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics