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Symptoms and Self-Management Strategies Identified by Children With Cancer Using Draw-and-Tell Interviews

Journal title
Oncology nursing forum
Publication year
Linder, L. A.; Bratton, H.; Nguyen, A.; Parker, K.; Wawrzynski, S. E.

PURPOSE: This cross-sectional study described how school-aged children with cancer represent their symptoms and associated characteristics using draw-and-tell interviews. PARTICIPANTS & SETTING: 27 children aged 6-12 years receiving treatment for cancer at the Cancer Transplant Center at Primary Children’s Hospital, a tertiary pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. METHODOLOGIC APPROACH: Children participated in draw-and-tell interviews while completing drawings depicting days when they felt well and days when they felt sick. Children’s drawings and accompanying explanations were analyzed qualitatively. FINDINGS: Children’s drawings related symptoms and the strategies children used to self-manage those symptoms. Nausea, fatigue, pain, and sadness were the most frequently reported symptoms. Strategies to manage symptoms most often included physical and psychosocial care strategies. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Children with cancer were able to relate detailed descriptions of their symptoms and symptom self-management strategies when presented with developmentally sensitive approaches. Healthcare providers are well positioned to integrate arts-based approaches to symptom assessment and to support children in implementing their preferred strategies to alleviate symptoms.

Research abstracts