Symptoms in the palliative phase of children with cancer.
until further notice
SourcePediatric Blood & Cancer, 49, 2, (2007), pp. 160-165
Article / Letter to editor
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Nursing Home Medicine
Centre for Quality of Care Research
Pediatric Blood & Cancer
SubjectEBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease; EBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health; EBP 4: Quality of Care; NCEBP 11: Alzheimer Centre; NCEBP 4: Quality of hospital and integrated care; NCEBP 6:Quality of nursing and allied health care; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness; NCEBP 9: Mental health; NCMLS 2: Immune Regulation; ONCOL 1: Hereditary cancer and cancer-related syndromes; ONCOL 2: Age-related aspects of cancer; ONCOL 3: Translational research; ONCOL 4: Quality of Care; UMCN 1.4: Immunotherapy, gene therapy and transplantation; EBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to make a comprehensive inventory of the physical, psychological, and social symptoms of children with cancer and their parents during the palliative phase and the extent to which health professionals address those symptoms. PROCEDURE: Forty parents of children who died 1-3 years prior to data collection (structured questionnaire) were invited to participate in the study. RESULTS: The response rate was 32 out of 40 parents (80%). Most frequently mentioned physical symptoms were pain, poor appetite, and fatigue. The children's most mentioned psychological symptoms were sadness, difficulty in talking to their parents about their feelings regarding illness and death and fear of being alone. The symptoms of fear of death of the child and fear of physical symptoms were most frequently mentioned parents' psychological symptoms. Health professionals addressed 82% of the children's physical symptoms, 43% of the children's psychological symptoms, and 56% of the parents' psychological symptoms. Parents indicated that after professional attention the proportion of children's physical symptoms that were completely or partially resolved was 18 and 26%, respectively. For children's psychological symptoms the figures were 9 and 25%, respectively, and for parents' psychological symptoms 2 and 23%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The burden of symptoms of the child with cancer during the palliative phase and their parents is high. Health professionals focus mainly on the physical symptoms of the child. Relief of symptoms could not be achieved for a large proportion of symptoms. Further prospective research is necessary to investigate the kind, frequency and intensity of symptoms in order to tailor optimal palliative care to the needs of both child and parent.
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