Inter-Professional Caring for Children Who Are Relatives of Cancer Patients in Palliative Care: Perspectives of Doctors and Social Workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A palliative cancer diagnosis in a parent has a major impact on many aspects of patients’ children. This article aims to explore how doctors and social workers met children as relatives of a parent with cancer in order to understand the possibilities and difficulties in supporting children in specialised palliative homecare in Sweden. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews of doctors and social workers were conducted, inspired by Bourdieu. The findings showed that professionals had limited contact with patients’ children. Mono- and inter-professional meetings were organising structures for working days of doctors and social workers. Due to hierarchy positions, doctors often set the agenda in inter-professional teamwork. Doctors seldom met patients’ children, only when information about parents’ cancer diseases were needed. Social workers were responsible for psycho-social issues, but mostly only special vulnerable families and their children were prioritised. Meetings between children and professionals were conditional on the parents’ permission and, even if permission was given, meetings seldom took place. Doctors and social workers were subject to the structural frame and a medical logic, which limited their interactions with children of the patients. Children were dependent on both their parents and professionals, who had the power to include or exclude them from parents’ illness situation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Health Sciences
  • Nursing


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-614
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Related activities

Glasdam, S. (First/primary/lead supervisor), Lundqvist, P. (Second supervisor)
2018 Jan 12023 Dec 31

Activity: Examination and supervisionSupervision

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