Does Cues on Mother???s Face Convey the Condition of the Child in a Critical Care Unit - A Prospective Cross-Sectional Study Done in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, MGM Hospital, Warangal

Author(s): Surender Kagithapu1, Padmini Soujanya Balla2, Aparna Varma Bhongir3, Pratap Gudi4, K. Sri Harsha5, Swathi Reddy Tangedpally6, Guguloth Latha7, M. Divya Sri8

Face is the index of mind. All human beings tend to express various emotions
through different facial expressions. Parents of children who are critically ill,
experience both positive and negative emotions simultaneously as they may feel
love, affection and sometimes sad, angry, and helpless.
We observed facial expressions of mothers of children and recorded vital data of
these children in our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). 107 children were
observed, and vitals recorded simultaneously by two different observers from time
of admission to 72 hours at fixed time intervals, using Hamilton’s scoring system.
107 critically ill children were observed. Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), AVPU scale,
peripheral temperature, capillary filling time (CFT), seizures at admission, were corelated
with facial expressions of the mother at the time of admission, at 12 hours,
at 24 hours, at 48 hours and at 72 hours. We found that facial expressions of the
mothers changed from fearful/sad to happy as the vital data of the child improved
with time interval.
At ‘0’ hour of admission, irrespective of the categorization of the GCS score, AVPU
scores, peripheral temperature, and capillary filling time, 78 mothers were fearful,
and 29 mothers were sad, amounting to a total of 107. None were happy,
irrespective of the child’s clinical condition, as, the child being admitted, is in itself
a stressful condition. There was a good increase in number of happy mothers in
co-relation with child’s improvement. Hence by observing the mother’s face, we
can definitely predict the clinical condition of the child and expressions on the
mother’s face is a reflection of the clinical condition of the child.