Paediatric death and dying: exploring coping strategies of health professionals and perceptions of support provision

Article


Forster, Elizabeth and Hafiz, Alaa. 2015. "Paediatric death and dying: exploring coping strategies of health professionals and perceptions of support provision." International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 21 (6), pp. 294-301. https://doi.org/10.12968/ijpn.2015.21.6.294
Article Title

Paediatric death and dying: exploring coping strategies of health professionals and perceptions of support provision

ERA Journal ID14090
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsForster, Elizabeth (Author) and Hafiz, Alaa (Author)
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Journal Citation21 (6), pp. 294-301
Number of Pages8
Year2015
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1357-6321
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.12968/ijpn.2015.21.6.294
Web Address (URL)http://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/ijpn.2015.21.6.294
Abstract

Without question a child's death is a devastating event for parents and families. Health professionals working with the dying child and family draw upon their expertise and experience to engage with children, parents and families on this painful journey. This is a delicate and sensitive area of practice and has strong and penetrating effects on health professionals. They employ physical, emotional, spiritual and problem solving strategies to continue to perform this role effectively and to protect their continued sense of wellbeing. Aim: To explore health professionals' perceptions of bereavement support surrounding the loss of a child. Methods: The research was underpinned by social constructionism. Semi-structured interviews were held with 10 health professionals including doctors, nurses and social workers who were directly involved in the care of the dying child and family in 7 cases of paediatric death. Health professional narratives were analysed consistent with Charmarz's (2006) approach. Results: For health professionals, constructions around coping emerged as peer support, personal coping strategies, family support, physical impact of support and spiritual beliefs. Analysis of the narratives also revealed health professionals' perceptions of their support provision. Conclusion: Health professionals involved in caring for dying children and their families use a variety of strategies to cope with the emotional and physical toll of providing support. They also engage in self-assessment to evaluate their support provision and this highlights the need for self-evaluation tools in paediatric palliative care.

KeywordsCoping; End-of-life care; Health professional; Paediatric palliative care; Adaptation, Psychological; Child; Death; Health Personnel; Humans;
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020321399. Paediatrics not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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