Impact of Age-appropriate Preparations for Children With Cancer Undergoing Radiotherapy on Parents and Family Functioning, Parents' Anxiety and Hospital Costs – A Feasibility Study

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim was to evaluate the impact of age-appropriate information and preparation procedures for children with cancer undergoing radiotherapy on 1) parents and family functioning, parents' anxiety and 2) hospital costs compared to traditional care. Design and Methods: An un-matched quasi-experimental controlled clinical trial was conducted consisting of a control group including 31 parents of 16 children receiving traditional care and an intervention group including 32 parents of 17 children receiving age-appropriate preparation including seven parts. Validated instruments measured parents and family functioning and parents' anxiety. Hospital costs were calculated. Results: Parents in the intervention group showed better communication throughout their child's radiotherapy (p = 0.01) and at their child's last fraction, parental social functioning improved (p = 0.02). Parents of children receiving general anesthesia, regardless of group, showed higher levels of anxiety (p = 0.04). In general, results regarding hospital costs lacked statistical significance. Development of the intervention was calculated to be USD 4.624. Conclusion: Parents who receive age-appropriate information and preparation together with their child benefits in terms of improved communication and social functioning. When children avoid general anesthesia the parents experienced less anxiety and costs for the hospital was lowered. Practice Implication: Age-appropriate preparations consisting of basic, non-costly utilities and a structured approach are important. If more children are able to undergo radiotherapy without general anesthesia, it means for the individual child fewer risks and restrictions, and for the parents decreased anxiety. For the healthcare, it means lower costs, which enables the hospital to prioritize other areas of pediatric care.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e51-e58
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Volume43
Early online date2018 Sep 27
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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