The provision of meals for primary caregivers when caring for a child in hospital varies across regions in Aotearoa [New Zealand]. Where meals are not provided, caregivers are expected to bring their own food from home and/or purchase food from on-site (or nearby) vendors. Twenty-four qualitative interviews with 15 Maaori (Maaori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa comprising 16.5% of the national population) whaanau [family/families] from one public hospital revealed that caregivers are reluctant to leave their child alone and that financial constraints meant that caregivers were often alone, isolated, and hungry. We recommend implementing a national meal policy to support caregivers who provide much-needed physical and emotional care for their child during a hospital stay. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Impact Statement

Impact and Implications: The absence of enough food to eat while caring for a sick child in hospital heightens the distress, concern, and worry that parents are already facing. Feelings of hunger intensify parental marginalization and isolation in the hospital environment. Our findings are directly relevant to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 “Zero hunger” and 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Additionally, our findings are relevant with regard to indigenous rights to health under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the responsibilities of the New Zealand government to uphold Maaori health aspirations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)