Gaps in pediatric oncologic end of life care as recounted by the bereaved parents in Isarel

Irit Schwartz-Attias, Shifra Ash, Ruti Ofir, Yael Ben Gal, Marcela Broitman, Mona Saeb, Tzipi Hornik-Lurie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated parents' perception of their needs and those of their children with cancer at the end-of-life period, including unmet needs and their expectations regarding providers. Design and methods: This cross-sectional study involved 26 parents recruited from three pediatric hematology-oncology wards in Israel who completed demographic and medical questionnaires of the child, and a parental needs questionnaire based on The Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers-Cancer questionnaire, following the death of their child. Findings: Parents expressed needs related to medical care, including pain management, decision-making, and finding optimal treatment options for their children. The most prominent unmet needs were financial and psychological factors, of which, paying for medical expenses and helping their child adjust to the end of their life received the highest mean scores. There were notable gaps between desired and actual support from service providers, particularly in relation to emotional aspects. While over half of the parents believed the psychosocial team should assist with their child's emotional distress, this need was not adequately fulfilled. Some parents also expressed a desire for better emotional support during the end-of-life period. Conclusions: The study emphasizes the importance of understanding parents' needs and perspectives during this challenging time. The identified gaps in support can be attributed to parental roles, the struggle with losing hope, communication barriers between care teams and parents, among others. Practice implications: By gaining insight into these needs and perceptions, care teams can enhance the provision of palliative care and optimize the distribution of responsibilities within the team.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.

Funding

This research was supported by the Minerva Center for Interdisciplinary Study of End of Life at Tel Aviv University (Grant number 3158329500 ).

FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University3158329500

    Keywords

    • Childhood cancer
    • Palliative care
    • Unmet needs
    • child's end of life
    • parent's perspective

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