Challenges and support needs of parents and children when a parent is at end of life: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background:
Preparing children for the death of a parent is challenging. Parents are often uncertain if and how to communicate and support their children. Many parents feel it is protecting their children by not telling them about the prognosis. Children less prepared for parental death from a terminal illness are more susceptive to later adversities. To facilitate coping and moderate for such adversities, there is a need to gain insight and understand the experience and challenges confronted by families.

Aim:
This review synthesised evidence on the experiences of parents and children when a parent is at end of life to discern their challenges, support needs and factors that facilitated good practice.

Design:
Mixed-methods systematic review.

Data sources:
Four electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid MEDLINE) using MeSH terms and word searches in October 2018. Studies were not limited by year of publication, language or country. Grey literature searches were also completed on Google Scholar and OpenGrey.

Results:
In all, 7829 records were identified; 27 qualitative and 0 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Eight descriptive themes were identified, further categorised into two broad themes: (1) barriers and facilitators in sharing the news that a parent is dying and (2) strategies to manage the changing situation.

Conclusion:
Lack of understanding in relation to the parent’s prognosis, denial and feeling ill-equipped were suggested as barriers for parents to share the news with their children. Engagement with social networks, including extended family relatives and peers, and maintaining routines such as attending school were suggested supportive by parents and children. Findings are limited primarily to White, middle-class two-parent families. A number of areas for future research are identified.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1017-1044
Number of pages28
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume33
Issue number8
Early online date27 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

Parents
Parental Death
Information Storage and Retrieval
PubMed
MEDLINE
Social Support
Publications
Emotions
Language
Databases

Keywords

  • Family
  • Children
  • parent
  • cancer
  • advanced cancer
  • End of life
  • end of life
  • children
  • parents

Cite this

@article{d70a7daac49e4bf996b00a4a7dea057a,
title = "Challenges and support needs of parents and children when a parent is at end of life: A systematic review",
abstract = "Background:Preparing children for the death of a parent is challenging. Parents are often uncertain if and how to communicate and support their children. Many parents feel it is protecting their children by not telling them about the prognosis. Children less prepared for parental death from a terminal illness are more susceptive to later adversities. To facilitate coping and moderate for such adversities, there is a need to gain insight and understand the experience and challenges confronted by families.Aim:This review synthesised evidence on the experiences of parents and children when a parent is at end of life to discern their challenges, support needs and factors that facilitated good practice.Design:Mixed-methods systematic review.Data sources:Four electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid MEDLINE) using MeSH terms and word searches in October 2018. Studies were not limited by year of publication, language or country. Grey literature searches were also completed on Google Scholar and OpenGrey.Results:In all, 7829 records were identified; 27 qualitative and 0 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Eight descriptive themes were identified, further categorised into two broad themes: (1) barriers and facilitators in sharing the news that a parent is dying and (2) strategies to manage the changing situation.Conclusion:Lack of understanding in relation to the parent’s prognosis, denial and feeling ill-equipped were suggested as barriers for parents to share the news with their children. Engagement with social networks, including extended family relatives and peers, and maintaining routines such as attending school were suggested supportive by parents and children. Findings are limited primarily to White, middle-class two-parent families. A number of areas for future research are identified.",
keywords = "Family, Children, parent, cancer, advanced cancer, End of life, end of life, children, parents",
author = "Jeff Hanna and Eilis McCaughan and Cherith Semple",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1177/0269216319857622",
language = "English",
volume = "33",
pages = "1017--1044",
journal = "Palliative Medicine",
issn = "0269-2163",
number = "8",

}

Challenges and support needs of parents and children when a parent is at end of life: A systematic review. / Hanna, Jeff; McCaughan, Eilis; Semple, Cherith.

In: Palliative Medicine, Vol. 33, No. 8, 27.06.2019, p. 1017-1044.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Challenges and support needs of parents and children when a parent is at end of life: A systematic review

AU - Hanna, Jeff

AU - McCaughan, Eilis

AU - Semple, Cherith

PY - 2019/6/27

Y1 - 2019/6/27

N2 - Background:Preparing children for the death of a parent is challenging. Parents are often uncertain if and how to communicate and support their children. Many parents feel it is protecting their children by not telling them about the prognosis. Children less prepared for parental death from a terminal illness are more susceptive to later adversities. To facilitate coping and moderate for such adversities, there is a need to gain insight and understand the experience and challenges confronted by families.Aim:This review synthesised evidence on the experiences of parents and children when a parent is at end of life to discern their challenges, support needs and factors that facilitated good practice.Design:Mixed-methods systematic review.Data sources:Four electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid MEDLINE) using MeSH terms and word searches in October 2018. Studies were not limited by year of publication, language or country. Grey literature searches were also completed on Google Scholar and OpenGrey.Results:In all, 7829 records were identified; 27 qualitative and 0 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Eight descriptive themes were identified, further categorised into two broad themes: (1) barriers and facilitators in sharing the news that a parent is dying and (2) strategies to manage the changing situation.Conclusion:Lack of understanding in relation to the parent’s prognosis, denial and feeling ill-equipped were suggested as barriers for parents to share the news with their children. Engagement with social networks, including extended family relatives and peers, and maintaining routines such as attending school were suggested supportive by parents and children. Findings are limited primarily to White, middle-class two-parent families. A number of areas for future research are identified.

AB - Background:Preparing children for the death of a parent is challenging. Parents are often uncertain if and how to communicate and support their children. Many parents feel it is protecting their children by not telling them about the prognosis. Children less prepared for parental death from a terminal illness are more susceptive to later adversities. To facilitate coping and moderate for such adversities, there is a need to gain insight and understand the experience and challenges confronted by families.Aim:This review synthesised evidence on the experiences of parents and children when a parent is at end of life to discern their challenges, support needs and factors that facilitated good practice.Design:Mixed-methods systematic review.Data sources:Four electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid MEDLINE) using MeSH terms and word searches in October 2018. Studies were not limited by year of publication, language or country. Grey literature searches were also completed on Google Scholar and OpenGrey.Results:In all, 7829 records were identified; 27 qualitative and 0 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Eight descriptive themes were identified, further categorised into two broad themes: (1) barriers and facilitators in sharing the news that a parent is dying and (2) strategies to manage the changing situation.Conclusion:Lack of understanding in relation to the parent’s prognosis, denial and feeling ill-equipped were suggested as barriers for parents to share the news with their children. Engagement with social networks, including extended family relatives and peers, and maintaining routines such as attending school were suggested supportive by parents and children. Findings are limited primarily to White, middle-class two-parent families. A number of areas for future research are identified.

KW - Family

KW - Children

KW - parent

KW - cancer

KW - advanced cancer

KW - End of life

KW - end of life

KW - children

KW - parents

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85068312512&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0269216319857622

DO - 10.1177/0269216319857622

M3 - Review article

VL - 33

SP - 1017

EP - 1044

JO - Palliative Medicine

T2 - Palliative Medicine

JF - Palliative Medicine

SN - 0269-2163

IS - 8

ER -