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Aims and tasks in parental caregiving for children receiving palliative care at home: a qualitative study

Journal title
European journal of pediatrics
Publication year
2017
Author(s)
Verberne, L. M.; Kars, M. C.; Schouten-van Meeteren, A. Y.; Bosman, D. K.; Colenbrander, D. A.; Grootenhuis, M. A.; van Delden, J. J.
Pages
343-354
Volume
176
Number
3

In paediatric palliative care (PPC), parents are confronted with increasing caregiving demands. More children are cared for at home, and the need for PPC of children is lengthened due to technical and medical improvements. Therefore, a clear understanding of the content of parental caregiving in PPC becomes increasingly important. The objective is to gain insight into parental caregiving based on the lived experience of parents with a child with a life-limiting disease. An interpretative qualitative study using thematic analysis was performed. Single or repeated interviews were undertaken with 42 parents of 24 children with a malignant or non-malignant disease, receiving PPC. Based on their ambition to be a ‘good parent’, parents caring for a child with a life-limiting disease strived for three aims: controlled symptoms and controlled disease, a life worth living for their ill child and family balance. These aims resulted in four tasks that parents performed: providing basic and complex care, organising good quality care and treatment, making sound decisions while managing risks and organising a good family life. CONCLUSION: Parents need early explanation from professionals about balancing between their aims and the related tasks to get a grip on their situation and to prevent becoming overburdened. What is Known: * In paediatric palliative care, parents are confronted with increasing caregiving demands. * Parenting is often approached from the perspective of stress. What is New: * Parents strive for three aims: controlled symptoms and controlled disease, a life worth living for their child and family balance. * Parents perform four tasks: providing basic and complex care, organising good quality care, making decisions while managing risks and organising a good family life. * Professionals need insight into the parents’ aims and tasks from the parental perspective to strengthen parents’ resilience.

Research abstracts