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Legacy Artwork in Pediatric Oncology: The Impact on Bereaved Caregivers' Psychological Functioning and Grief

Journal title
Journal of palliative medicine
Publication year
2019
Author(s)
Schaefer, M. R.; Spencer, S. K.; Barnett, M.; Reynolds, N. C.; Madan-Swain, A.
Pages
1124-1128
Volume
22
Number
9

Background: Legacy-making (i.e., a way for patients with terminal illness to create or do something for others as a means of remembrance) is rising in popularity in palliative medicine, although only one study has examined its impact in a pediatric population. Objective: In response to the gaps in literature, this study (1) examines the impact of legacy artwork on bereaved caregivers' psychological functioning and grief and (2) compares caregivers' perceptions of support provided by the hospital throughout their child's cancer journey between the intervention and control groups. Methods: Forty-four caregivers whose children died of cancer completed a demographic questionnaire specifically created for this study, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18, and the Prolonged Grief Disorder-13. They also answered questions regarding supportive services provided to them toward the end of the child's life, at the time of death, and after the child's death. Those caregivers who endorsed participating in legacy artwork were identified as the intervention group, whereas those who did not were classified as the control group. Results: There were no significant differences in psychological functioning among caregivers who participated in legacy artwork versus those who did not participate. However, caregivers who created legacy artwork with their child reported significantly less symptoms of prolonged grief and a greater perception of support from health care providers compared with caregivers who did not engage in this activity. Conclusion: Although preliminary, these findings suggest that legacy artwork may have the potential to improve grief and overall satisfaction of support from the hospital in bereaved caregivers.

Research abstracts