open access

Vol 11, No 4 (2017)
Research paper
Published online: 2018-02-28
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Parents’ needs for physician-parent communication in the face of life-threatening illness: qualitative analysis

Bernadetta Janusz, Maciej Walkiewicz
Medycyna Paliatywna w Praktyce 2017;11(4):138-146.

open access

Vol 11, No 4 (2017)
Original articles
Published online: 2018-02-28

Abstract

 Introduction. Parents of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness often experience the state of cognitive and emotional disorganization. The key factor determining parents-physicians cooperation is the quality of their relations. That is why physicians should be familiar with conditions that may help or disturb parents to manage this extreme situation. Competent communication leads to more effective treatment as well as fewer medical malpractice claims and lawsuits filed against doctors.

Material and methods. The aim of this paper is the description and analysis of the needs of 23 parents whose children were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses that led to death. The deceased children were treated mainly in hospitals or in hospices. The study was conducted in the period of one up to four years following the death of a child. A semi-structured interview was constructed and used for the purpose of this research. The transcription was analysed according to the rules of Qualitative Content Analysis with applying NVivo 9 software.

Results. The results have revealed five categories of parents’ needs addressed to physicians: 1) a greater intensity of direct parent-physician contact; 2) experience of doctors’ thorough knowledge about the child and their illness; 3) a greater doctors’ involvement in the search for the causes of the disease and further treatment; 4) parents’ established position in the healthcare system, especially when the treatment lasted for a long time 5) more clear information about the applied treatment and condition of the child.

Conclusions. The research indicates that the challenge of communication with parents is not only clear information about the course of a disease, providing facts about functioning of the entire health care system and this is particularly important for the parents whose child has been undergoing a long-term treatment. A physician should emphasise the meaning of palliative care as an integrated system of support. Parents’ decision-making about medical treatment on the early stage of an illness may cause too heavy strain to some of them.

Abstract

 Introduction. Parents of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness often experience the state of cognitive and emotional disorganization. The key factor determining parents-physicians cooperation is the quality of their relations. That is why physicians should be familiar with conditions that may help or disturb parents to manage this extreme situation. Competent communication leads to more effective treatment as well as fewer medical malpractice claims and lawsuits filed against doctors.

Material and methods. The aim of this paper is the description and analysis of the needs of 23 parents whose children were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses that led to death. The deceased children were treated mainly in hospitals or in hospices. The study was conducted in the period of one up to four years following the death of a child. A semi-structured interview was constructed and used for the purpose of this research. The transcription was analysed according to the rules of Qualitative Content Analysis with applying NVivo 9 software.

Results. The results have revealed five categories of parents’ needs addressed to physicians: 1) a greater intensity of direct parent-physician contact; 2) experience of doctors’ thorough knowledge about the child and their illness; 3) a greater doctors’ involvement in the search for the causes of the disease and further treatment; 4) parents’ established position in the healthcare system, especially when the treatment lasted for a long time 5) more clear information about the applied treatment and condition of the child.

Conclusions. The research indicates that the challenge of communication with parents is not only clear information about the course of a disease, providing facts about functioning of the entire health care system and this is particularly important for the parents whose child has been undergoing a long-term treatment. A physician should emphasise the meaning of palliative care as an integrated system of support. Parents’ decision-making about medical treatment on the early stage of an illness may cause too heavy strain to some of them.

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Keywords

life-threatening illness, health communication; family, parents-physicians; patients, psycho-oncology

About this article
Title

Parents’ needs for physician-parent communication in the face of life-threatening illness: qualitative analysis

Journal

Palliative Medicine in Practice

Issue

Vol 11, No 4 (2017)

Article type

Research paper

Pages

138-146

Published online

2018-02-28

Bibliographic record

Medycyna Paliatywna w Praktyce 2017;11(4):138-146.

Keywords

life-threatening illness
health communication
family
parents-physicians
patients
psycho-oncology

Authors

Bernadetta Janusz
Maciej Walkiewicz

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