Education Given to Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

September 25, 2019 -

Feeling educated and well-equipped to take on the challenge of battling pediatric cancer starts with the parents ability to do what they do best. Taking care of your child, especially when proper care is most important may be overwhelming but taking a deep breath and reading on could be a great place to start.

Over the past 30 years, diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers has developed significantly due to medical research and advancements in technology. As a result, prognosis has improved, and approximately 80% of children diagnosed with cancer survive into adulthood. Care has also shifted from a sole inpatient setting to include outpatient treatment where possible, and both these trends have resulted in a shift in the focus of research to the psychosocial and psychological effects of treatment on children and their families. Increasingly, parents are taking on the role of providing “nursing” care for their children, for example, managing medications and emergency situations as well as everyday treatment needs.

This article critically reviews the current literature surrounding the approaches and methods used by nursing staff to educate families to perform this care within the context of a planned first discharge from hospital. Twenty-two relevant articles were identified covering different aspects of education and discharge planning, including the following: facilitation of education and discharge planning, collaboration between professional disciplines and family, responsibilities and contractual agreements, timing and approach, care planning, and the information needs of families.

Only 4 articles discussed what the family felt they needed to know and be prepared for prior to discharge. This review indicates that further research is required to establish the needs of parents and caregivers with regard to education prior to their child’s first discharge from hospital in the pediatric hematology and oncology setting.

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