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Close relatives find meaning to cope with cancer diagnosis and treatment of family members

Journal title
The American journal of hospice & palliative care
Publication year
Feyh, J. M.; Levine, E. G.; Clay, K.

Pediatric palliative care has recently become a priority in the health care field and is implemented at the time of diagnosis rather than days or weeks before the child’s death. Social constructivism theory in which humans generate meaning from their experiences was utilized as a general framework to determine the impact of pediatric palliative care on close relatives. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to generate a substantive theory that explains how close relatives such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles of a child with cancer experience palliative care. The participants of the study included close relatives of children in palliative care. Semistructured interviews and journaling were used to collect data. Initial, focused, and axial coding procedures were used to manage the data and a content analysis of the textual data was performed. Findings from the data suggested a process of finding meaning which helps close relatives to let go of what they cannot control while holding on to what they can control. Social change implications of this study may include improving health care programming for close relatives utilizing supportive-expressive measures. This programming may promote mental health of the close relatives who will learn to deal with their adjustment difficulties and improve their coping skills.

Research abstracts