ICT’s Effect on Parents’ Feelings of Presence, Awareness, and Connectedness during a Child’s Hospitalization
This study evaluates how off-the-shelf commercial ICTs can contribute to creating a feeling of Presence, Connectedness, and Awareness between parents and their hospitalized child. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics are used to analyse qualitative and quantitative data collected through a survey of thirty eight parents whose children were admitted to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Through analysis of data, Presence is found to be less facilitated through ICT than are Awareness and Connectedness. Although participants reported that voice call on mobile phones was the most common way of communication, their ideal was a video-chat application such as Skype, or a combination of Skype and TV to facilitate feeling of Presence. We discovered a strong desire by parents to use rich media such as video and audio to achieve a greater feeling of the Presence of their absent child.