BACKGROUND: Legacy has been invoked as a means for strengthening human attachments, continuing bonds, and ensuring that individuals will be remembered; however, little is known about the spectrum of approaches to, outcomes associated with, and best practices for legacy interventions.
AIM: To systematically review research on legacy perceptions and interventions in pediatric and adult palliative care recipients.
DESIGN: A systematic mixed studies review synthesizing quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods study findings using PRISMA guidelines.
DATA SOURCES: PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases were searched on October 1, 2020. GRADE criteria were used to assess quality of quantitative reports, and the Johns Hopkins Evidence Level and Quality Guide was used to rate qualitative, mixed methods, and review articles. Data were synthesized using integrative thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The 67 studies reviewed describe a variety of legacy perceptions and interventions with adult and pediatric patients receiving palliative care. Statistically significant improvements in various dimensions of wellbeing are documented, with significant reduction in incidence and symptoms of depression in adults. Studies highlight the utility, feasibility, and perceived benefits of legacy interventions according to adult patients and their caregivers, and parents/caregivers of pediatric patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Though future research with high-quality, experimental designs is needed, the positive outcomes associated with legacy interventions are documented in adult patient populations; additionally, the application of legacy interventions for children with serious illnesses receiving palliative care is reasonable based on the existing body of evidence. A consistent and operational concept of legacy is still needed for future research and practice.
BACKGROUND: The importance of actively involving patient and public members throughout the different stages of palliative care and health research projects is widely acknowledged, however patient and public involvement work rarely considers insight from children and young people. Although this is becoming increasingly recognised in other areas of research, there is currently no structured guidance on how to best involve children and young people in palliative care research.
AIM: To plan and deliver a Young People's Advisory Group in palliative care and health research at a secondary school.
FINDINGS: Attending an after-school 'Health and Social Research Methods Club' for 11 weeks benefitted children and researchers. Children were taught about data collection methods, data analysis and ethics in health research and used these skills to provide valuable feedback which has been implemented in current palliative care research projects. Children took part in considered discussions around palliative care topics and enjoyed attending the group.
CONCLUSION: This project has equipped researchers with skills and provided a structured template for future Young People's Advisory Groups, ensuring the unique voices of children and young people are considered and valued in future palliative care research.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of life support limitation (LSL) in patients who died after at least 24h of a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) stay, parent participation and to describe how this type of care is delivered.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study in a tertiary PICU at a university hospital in Brazil. All patients aged 1 month to 18 years who died were eligible for inclusion. The exclusion criteria were those brain death and death within 24h of admission.
RESULTS: 53 patients were included in the study. The prevalence of a LSL report was 45.3%. Out of 24 patients with a report of LSL on their medical records only 1 did not have a do-not-resuscitate order. Half of the patients with a report of LSL had life support withdrawn. The length of their PICU stay, age, presence of parents at the time of death, and severity on admission, calculated by the Pediatric Index of Mortality 2, were higher in patients with a report of LSL. Compared with other historical cohorts, there was a clear increase in the prevalence of LSL and, most importantly, a change in how limitations are carried out, with a high prevalence of parental participation and an increase in withdrawal of life support.
CONCLUSIONS: LSLs were associated with older and more severely ill patients, with a high prevalence of family participation in this process. The historical comparison showed an increase in LSL and in the withdrawal of life support.
Background: Advance care planning for children with palliative care needs is an emotionally, legally and complex aspect of care, advocated as beneficial to children, families and health professionals. Evidence suggests healthcare professionals often avoid or delay initiation. An overview of evidence on the factors that influence and impact on the health care professional's initiation of paediatric advance care planning process is lacking.
Aim: To review and synthesise evidence on the factors associated with health care professional's decision to initiate paediatric advance care planning.
Design: Systematic integrative review using constant comparison method.
Data sources: Electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane) using MeSH terms and word searches in Oct 2019. No limit set on year of publication or country. Grey literature searches were also completed.
Results: The search yielded 4153 citations from which 90 full text articles were reviewed. Twenty-one met inclusion criteria consisting of quantitative (n = 8), qualitative (n = 6) and theoretical (n = 7) studies.Findings revealed overarching and interrelated themes 'The timing of initiation', 'What makes an initiator, 'Professionals' perceptions' and 'Prerequisites to initiation'.
Conclusions: This review provides insights into the complexities and factors surrounding the initiation of advance care planning in paediatric practice. Uncertainty regarding prognosis, responsibility and unpredictable parental reactions result in inconsistent practice. Future research is required to inform intervention to assist health care professionals when initiating paediatric advance care planning conversations.
Pediatric Palliative Care (PPC) addresses children, adolescents, and young adults with a broad spectrum of underlying diseases. A substantial proportion of these patients have irreversible conditions accompanied by Severe Neurological Impairment (SNI). For the treatment of pain and dyspnea, strong opioids are widely used in PPC. Nonetheless, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the opioid-related side effects in pediatric patients with SNI, particularly concerning Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression (OIRD). Research on pain and OIRD in pediatric patients with SNI is limited. Using scoping review methodology, we performed a systematic literature search for OIRD in pediatric patients with SNI. Out of n = 521 identified articles, n = 6 studies were included in the review. Most studies examined the effects of short-term intravenous opioid therapy. The incidence of OIRD varied between 0.13% and 4.6%; besides SNI, comorbidities, and polypharmacy were the most relevant risk factors. Additionally, three clinical cases of OIRD in PPC patients receiving oral or transdermal opioids are presented and discussed. The case reports indicate that the risk factors identified in the scoping review also apply to adolescents and young adults with SNI receiving low-dose oral or transdermal opioid therapy. However, the risk of OIRD should never be a barrier to adequate symptom relief. We recommend careful consideration and systematic observation of opioid therapy in this population of patients.
La survenue d’une maladie grave chez l’enfant vient percuter et modifier de manière considérable les liens intrafamiliaux. C’est à partir du moment inaugural de l’annonce diagnostique, dans un échange de regards avec ses parents, que l’enfant prendra conscience de la gravité de sa maladie. C’est aussi en fonction de la réaction à venir de ses parents, au fil de l’évolution de la maladie et au gré des traitements, que l’enfant va lui-même, en tant que sujet porteur de sa propre histoire, éprouver les effets psychiques de cette maladie et lui conférer un sens particulier. D’un point de vue de psychologue exerçant en oncologie pédiatrique, il s’agit ici d’éclairer les enjeux psychiques liés à l’irruption d’un cancer chez l’enfant en portant une attention particulière sur la manière dont cet événement éprouvant est vécu par ses parents et dont on peut en retrouver les effets dans le discours de l’enfant. La possibilité pour l’enfant de dire ce qu’il perçoit dans le regard meurtri de ses parents porté sur lui nous semble contribuer à l’appropriation de l’épreuve de la maladie, voire au dépassement de celle-ci.
Cet article s’intéresse aux traces laissées par l’expérience du coma, en particulier aux conséquences de ces lésions sur les capacités du sujet à être en lien avec lui-même et avec les autres. Pour les enfants et adolescents, ce lien semble osciller du manque à l’excès, en lien avec une mise à mal de la fonction d’étayage du premier environnement. À partir de son expérience auprès d’un adolescent hospitalisé suite à une lésion cérébrale et une période de coma, et ce dans le cadre d’une pratique clinique en service de rééducation, l’auteur interroge la possibilité de reprise en termes de subjectivation et historicisation de cette période inscrite en creux pour le sujet et ce qui semble se jouer dans le lien parents-enfant. L’angoisse de mort, à vif, y circule violemment en quête de mise en forme. Le miroir que peut tendre l’autre parental est convoqué.
Cet article aborde la question du deuil et plus particulièrement du deuil d’un enfant dans une famille. Ce deuil traumatique vient bouleverser l’ordre générationnel. Il confronte l’ensemble du groupe familial à un impensable. Comment peut-on accompagner au mieux une famille frappée par un tel drame ? Est-il pertinent de prendre en charge l’ensemble de la famille ? La plupart des auteurs qui ont travaillé ces questions sont d’orientation systémique. Les auteures, psychologues et thérapeutes familiales psychanalytiques, se proposent ici d’aborder cette thématique sous l’angle de la théorie psychanalytique individuelle et groupale. Elles illustrent leurs propos au travers d’une situation clinique afin de montrer l’évolution du travail de deuil au sein d’une famille confrontée à la perte d’un enfant.
In this paper, we explore three separate questions that are relevant to assessing the prudential value of life in infants with severe life-limiting illness. First, what is the value or disvalue of a short life? Is it in the interests of a child to save her life if she will nevertheless die in infancy or very early childhood? Second, how does profound cognitive impairment affect the balance of positives and negatives in a child's future life? Third, if the life of a child with life-limiting illness is prolonged, how much suffering will she experience and can any of it be alleviated? Is there a risk that negative experiences for such a child (suffering) will remain despite the provision of palliative care? We argue that both the subjective and objective components of well-being for children could be greatly reduced if they are anticipated to have a short life that is affected by profound cognitive impairment. This does not mean that their overall well-being will be negative, but rather that there may be a higher risk of negative overall well-being if they are expected to experience pain, discomfort, or distress. Furthermore, we point to some of the practical limitations of therapies aimed at relieving suffering, such that there is a risk that suffering will go partially or completely unrelieved. Taken together, these considerations imply that some life-prolonging treatments are not in the best interests of infants with severe life-limiting illness.
Background and Method: There is an absence of research on the prevalence of bereavement during early childhood and the relationship between childhood bereavement and socioeconomic status (SES) and this poses a challenge in both understanding and supporting children's bereavement experiences. Using longitudinal data from the Growing Up in Scotland study, which tracks the lives of three nationally representative cohorts of children, this paper aimed to address these gaps in research. It specifically drew on data from Birth Cohort 1 to document the recorded bereavements of 2,815 children who completed all 8 sweeps of data collection, from age 10 months to 10 years.
Findings: The study found that 50.8% of all children are bereaved of a parent, sibling, grandparent or other close family member by age 8 and this rises to 62% by age 10. The most common death experienced was that of a grandparent or other close relative. The study also found that children born into the lowest income households are at greater risk of being bereaved of a parent or sibling than those born into the highest income households.
Discussion and Conclusion: Given the prevalence of childhood bereavement and its relationship with disadvantage, this paper argues that there is an important need to understand bereavement as a universal issue that is affected by the social conditions in which a child becomes bereaved, as well as an individual experience potentially requiring specialist support. This paper thus seeks to position childhood bereavement more firmly within the public health approach to palliative and bereavement care discourse and contends that doing so provides a unique and comprehensive opportunity to better understand and holistically respond to the experience of bereavement during childhood.
BACKGROUND: There is a growing body of qualitative studies examining parents' experiences of caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, coinciding with recent evidence that indicates an increasing incidence of paediatric life-limiting conditions. However, research focusing on fathers' needs remains sparse and is often diluted among a predominant 'mother's voice', raising questions about whether practices in clinical settings meet fathers' needs.
AIM: To provide an in-depth assembly of the current state of knowledge around fathers' experiences of caring for their children diagnosed with life-limiting conditions and understand the implications for healthcare services and policies.
DESIGN: A meta-ethnography was conducted to synthesise findings from existing qualitative studies exploring fathers' experiences of caring.
DATA SOURCES: Four electronic databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Science Direct) were searched up until April 2020. Qualitative studies exploring fathers' care experience and published in English language were included. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist was employed for study quality appraisal. No temporal limits were used.
RESULTS: Sixty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. Thirty life-limiting conditions were included. Based on responses from 496 fathers, a conceptual model was developed which translates key experiences within the fathers' caregiving journeys. The overarching concepts identified were: the paradox of support, challenges in the caring process, 'nobody thinks of men', impact on family life and the fall of the curtain: an irrevocably altered world. These and associated sub-concepts are discussed, with recommendations for future research and practice provided.
CONCLUSION: The findings indicate the value of a family-oriented approach to develop psychosocial interventions and support channels for fathers, thus empowering them whilst reducing the care-giving burden on the family unit.
CONTEXT: Most children with cancer die in hospital settings, without hospice, and many suffer from high-intensity medical interventions and pain at end of life (EOL).
OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of COMPLETE: a communication plan early through EOL to increase hospice enrollment in children with cancer at EOL.
METHODS: This is a two-phase, single-arm, two-center, and prospective pilot study of hospice enrollment in children with cancer whose parents received COMPLETE. COMPLETE is a series of medical doctor (MD)/registered nurse (RN)-guided discussions of goals of care using visual aids that begin at diagnosis. COMPLETE training for MD/RNs in Phase II was revised to increase their use of empathy. Preintervention/postintervention measurements for child include: time of hospice enrollment, pain, high-intensity medical interventions at EOL, and location of death; and for parent the following: uncertainty and hope.
RESULTS: Twenty-one parents of 18 children enrolled in the study, and 13 children were followed through EOL. At EOL, 11 (84.6%) died on home hospice or inpatient hospice, and only two (15%) received high-intensity medical interventions. Similar to published findings in the initial 13 parents enrolled in Phase I, parents in Phase II (n = 7) had improvement in hope and uncertainty, and child pain was decreased. Revised training resulted in significant improvement in MD/RN (N = 6) use of empathy (11% in Phase I vs. 100% in Phase II; P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: COMPLETE resulted in increased hospice enrollment in children with cancer at EOL compared with historical controls. In preanalysis/postanalysis, COMPLETE decreased child pain while supporting hope and reducing uncertainty in their parents.
OBJECTIVE: Meaning-making may assist individuals in adaptation to stressful life events, particularly bereavement. However, few studies have examined meaning-making among pediatric populations with advanced illness to understand how this process unfolds before the child's death. This study explores meaning-making pre-bereavement among children with advanced cancer and their parents.
METHODS: As part of a larger study examining shared decision-making near the end-of-life, 24 children with advanced cancer and/or high-risk cancer, 26 mothers, and 11 fathers participated in individual, semi-structured interviews. Analyses focused on questions regarding meaning-making. Four coders analyzed the data via directed content analysis.
RESULTS: Three major meaning-making themes emerged: (1) sense-making (i.e., unknown, no sense/meaning, religious/spiritual explanations, scientific explanations), (2) benefit-finding, and (3) purpose/legacy. Some stated they were unable to make sense of the diagnosis, because there was no reason, they were not there yet, or they were dealing with the situation and moving forward. Others reported finding meaning through spiritual and scientific explanations. Many identified benefits related to the child's illness, such as personal growth and stronger relationships. Some parents expressed their purpose in life was to live for their children, while others shared their child's legacy as a way to find meaning.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight the struggle children and parents often face when attempting to make sense of the child's advanced or high-risk illness. Clinicians might consider if meaning-centered interventions designed for use in adults at end-of-life and bereaved parents may be helpful for children with advanced or high-risk cancer and their parents.
Si le deuil compliqué est aujourd’hui une entité clinique reconnue chez l’adulte, il reste encore particulièrement difficile à appréhender chez l’enfant, tout comme le sont les autres complications du deuil. Dans le présent article, nous rappelons d’abord la spécificité du deuil chez l’enfant. Puis, nous évoquons ce qu’il en est des complications du deuil infantile. Et finalement, nous abordons les perspectives de prises en charge possibles de ces enfants et de leurs proches dans ces contextes si spécifiques de deuil compliqué.
Communication is as important as the drug and the knife in medical care, particularly when patients are facing life-threatening conditions. However, the ability to communicate effectively has been commonly associated with strong emotional barriers among healthcare professionals and family members. Studies that have focused on paediatric oncology have showed that openness about the transition from curative to palliative care is frequently avoided. As long ago as the 1980s a paper in this journal reported that children often wanted to share their thoughts and feelings at the end of life, but that adults often failed to recognise that need.
BACKGROUND: Treatment options for childhood cancer have improved substantially, although in many low- and middle-income countries survival is lagging behind. Integral childhood cancer care involves the whole spectrum from detection and diagnosis to palliative and survivorship care.
METHODS: Based on a literature review and expert opinions, we summarized current practice and recommendations on the following aspects of childhood cancer in Latin America: diagnostic processes and time to diagnosis, stage at diagnosis, treatments and complications, survivorship programs and palliative care and end-of-life services.
RESULTS: Latin America is a huge and heterogeneous continent. Identified barriers show similar problems between countries, both logistically (time and distance to centers, treatment interruptions) and financially (cost of care, cost of absence from work). Governmental actions in several countries improved the survival of children with cancer, but difficulties persist in timely diagnosis and providing adequate treatment to all childhood cancer patients in institutions with complete infrastructure. Treatment abandonment is still common, although the situation is improving. Cancer care in the region has mostly focused on acute treatment of the disease and has not adequately considered palliative and end-of-life care and monitoring of survivors.
CONCLUSIONS: Decentralizing diagnostic activities and centralizing specialized treatment will remain necessary; measures to facilitate logistics and costs of transportation of the child and caretakers should be implemented. Twinning actions with specialized centers in high income countries for help in diagnosis, treatment and education of professionals and family members have been shown to work. Palliative and end-of-life care as well as childhood cancer survivorship plans are needed.
PURPOSE: The Norwegian Health Personnel Act (HPA §10a) obliges health professionals to contribute to meeting minor children's need for information about their parents' illness and prognosis. Previous research has shown that many parents withhold information about illness and anticipated death from their children. This study explored main considerations for palliative health-care professionals in these situations, and how they negotiate conflicting considerations of confidentiality and child involvement.
METHOD: This qualitative exploratory study involved semi-structured interviews with 11 palliative health-care professionals. Hermeneutics informed the data analysis.
RESULTS: The health professionals' main considerations were sustaining patients' hope and building trust in the professional-patient relationship. Both concerns were grounded in respect for patient autonomy. The health professionals negotiated patient autonomy and child involvement in different ways, defined in the present analysis on a continuum ranging from granting full patient autonomy to going directly against patients' will.
CONCLUSIONS: The professional-patient relationship is the primary consideration in the health care context, and decision making on the degree of children's involvement happens in a dialogical process between health professionals and patients. Close professional-patient relationships might increase the emotional impacts on health professionals, who consequently might give greater relative weight to patients' will. We propose that procedures for initiating collaboration with professionals in the child's everyday life context help health professionals involving the child without threatening trust.
Released in 2016, That Dragon, Cancer was created by Joel’s parents, indie game developer Ryan Green and his wife Amy, to tell his story interactively and thus honor his too-short life. Diagnosed at age 1 with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor and given months to live, Joel lived with his disease for 4 years. Over the course of several vignettes, players progress through his diagnosis, treatment, and death using point-and-click–style mechanics and occasional game styles from other video games (platforming, racing, puzzle solving). Wavering between hyperrealism and fantasy, players experience Joel’s joy playing with a puppy and the horror of being unable to console him, the fantasy of imaginative play and the banality of a cross-country trip to participate in a clinical trial, and more. In short, the game sets out to encompass the fullness of Joel’s life.
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Losing a loved one is among the most common and stressful traumatic events that a child or and adolescent can experience and can be associated with mental health and somatic disorders, as well as a range of life issues and potentially negative outcomes that may impact longitudinal development. Complicated grief, a disorder that has been studied primarily among adults, has received increasing recognition among children and adolescents in recent years. The demonstration of the distinctive character of grief reactions in relation to major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder has resulted in the inclusion of “persistent complex bereavement disorder” in an annex section of DSM-5 and of “prolonged grief disorder” in ICD-11. The grieving process in children and adolescents is not linear and is often characterised by periods of regression. Developmental phases should be taken into account to understand and clinically describe grief reactions occurring during childhood and adolescence. There are currently numerous interventions for bereaved children and adolescents, but little evidence to support them. More research focusing on the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and the risk factors for complicated grief among children and adolescents, as well as the implementation of evidence-based interventions, is definitely warranted.