Impressions That Last: Particularly Negative and Positive Experiences Reported by Parents Five Years after the End of a Child's Successful Cancer Treatment or Death
2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 6, e0157076Article in journal (Refereed) Published
OBJECTIVE: To describe the experience of parenting a child diagnosed with cancer by examining particularly negative and positive experiences reported by parents of childhood cancer survivors and parents of children lost to cancer.
METHODS: 168 parents (88 mothers, 80 fathers) participated. Data were collected five years after the end of successful treatment or the child's death. The parents' experiences were identified by open-ended semi-structured questions about particularly negative and positive experiences of the child's cancer. An inductive approach was used in which the manifest verbal content of the answers was analysed using content analysis.
RESULTS: The analysis revealed eight categories of negative experience (child late effects; distressing events; healthcare; impaired relationships; long-term psychological consequences; own reactions; surrounding institutions; the fact that the child got cancer) and seven categories of positive experience (healthcare; improved relationships; long-term consequences for the child; personal development; support systems; treatment outcome; unexpected joy). The categories were related to past events or to the present situation. The findings indicate variations in experiences between parents of survivors and bereaved parents, and between fathers and mothers, as some experiences were only reported by parents of survivors and some experiences were only reported by mothers.
CONCLUSIONS: The results highlight the importance of past and present events to parents, and accordingly the long-lasting impact of paediatric cancer on parents. The results also point to the wide range of negative as well as positive experiences involved in parenting a child diagnosed with cancer, and provide a comprehensive understanding of the overall experience for parents of children with cancer. Specifically, the findings give guidance to healthcare providers by illustrating the need to provide healthcare personnel with continuous training in communication skills, offering parents opportunities to meet other parents in the same situation and increasing the access to psychosocial supportive services and psychological care.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 6, e0157076
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296022DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157076ISI: 000377561000061PubMedID: 27272318OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-296022DiVA: diva2:935862
FunderSwedish Research Council, K2008-70X-20836-01- 3 K2011-70X-20836-04-4Swedish Cancer Society, 2007/1015 2010/726Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, PROJ08/010