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Identifying domains of quality of life in children with cancer undergoing palliative care: A qualitative study with professionals

Journal title
Palliative & supportive care
Publication year
Avoine-Blondin, J.; Parent, V.; Lahaye, M.; Humbert, N.; Duval, M.; Sultan, S.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of pediatric palliative care (PPC) is to maintain the quality of life (QoL) of children whose lives are threatened. However, there are sparse scientific data on the domains of QoL in this particular context, and no measurement strategies are available. The present study aims to describe the domains of QoL in the context of PPC in oncology, according to the perceptions of professional caregivers. METHOD: Semistructured interviews were conducted with a random sample of 20 professional caregivers from the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine (Montreal, Canada). The caregivers were asked about their perceptions about the QoL of the children they have cared for in this context. The data were analyzed using inductive thematic content analysis. RESULTS: The analysis allowed us to identify seven domains of QoL: "physical comfort," "alleviation of psychological suffering," "fun and the present moment," "sense of control," "feeling valued and appreciated," "feeling that life goes on," and "meaningful social relationships." SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Caregivers recount the regard that should be accorded to maintaining well-being and a sense of fun, as well as fostering the child’s abilities, taking account of the progression of the disease, and to fulfilling his or her needs, especially social ones. Our results also demonstrate that all domains were positively referred to by professional caregivers. The data from our study will lead to better assessment of QoL according to the trajectory of a child with advanced cancer while undergoing PPC.

Research abstracts