The 2008 Helene Hudson Memorial Lectureship

Katrina Longfield, Andrew Warwick

Abstract


Nurses, parents and other family members tend to feel ill equipped when talking to children about a parent’s impending death. Adults often feel the need to protect children from the reality of a parent’s imminent death. However, research indicates that children experience increased levels of anxiety when information regarding a parent’s terminal prognosis is withheld from them. As a result, not telling children that their parent is dying does not avert a fearful situation for the child but, rather, it denies the child access to accurate information and appropriate emotional support. Oncology nurses are uniquely placed to provide guidance to parents on this topic. This paper will include a nursing narrative and practical strategies for communicating with children whose parents are dying.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Christ, G., Siegel, K., Karus, D., & Christ, A. (2005). Evaluation of a

bereavement intervention. The Journal of Social Work in Endof-

Life and Palliative Care, 1(3), 57–81.

Kroll, L., Barnes, J., Jones, A.L., & Stein, A. (1998). Cancer in parents:

Telling children. British Medical Journal, 316, 880.

Lohan, J.A. (2006). School nurses’ support for bereaved students: A

pilot study. The Journal of School Nursing, 22(1), 48–52.

MacPherson, C. (2005). Telling children their ill parent is dying: A

study of the factors influencing the well parent. Mortality, 10(2),

–126.

Riley, M. (2003). Facilitating children’s grief. The Journal of School

Nursing, 19(4), 212–218.

Robinson, C., & Janes, K. (2001). “Is my mom going to die?”

Answering children’s questions when a family member has cancer.

Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 11(2), 62–66.

Saldinger, A., Cain, A.C., Porterfield, K., & Lohnes, K. (2004).

Facilitating attachment between school-aged children and a dying

parent. Death Studies 28, 915–940.

Silverman, P.R. (2000). Never too young to know: Death in children’s

lives. New York: Oxford University Press.

Smith, K., & Boardman, K. (1995). Comforting a child when someone

close dies. Nursing 95, 25(10), 58–59.

Welch, A.S., Wadsworth, M.E., & Compass, B.E. (1996). Adjustment

of children and adolescents to parental cancer. American Cancer

Society, 77, 1409–1418.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.