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[Strategies for discussing death with child cancer sufferers]

Publication year
Huang, Y. Y.; Yang, C. L.; Lin, S. Y.; Chang, C. C.; Chen, S. C.

Since a curriculum concerning life and death was established and palliative care began to be promoted, people have gradually awakened to the needs of dying patients. Because of the nature of oriental culture, however, ultimate decisions concerning someone with a terminal disease have traditionally been made by family, so dying patients, especially children with cancer, have usually not been told of their true condition. The purpose of this article was to gain an understanding of the necessity of talking about death with child cancer patients and how to communicate with these children. The results show that helping the family to talk about death and decision making concerning treatment can help them to adapt to the grieving period when the children pass away. The tactics that nurses can use for communication with dying children include: to acknowledge the decision maker in the family, adopt the concept of death appropriate to a person of the child’s age, discuss the prognosis for the development of the disease, and opt to use the medium of communication. The findings of this article may serve as a source of reference for nurses caring for dying children, and cause greater attention to be paid to these issues.

Research abstracts