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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2006 Jul-Aug;23(4):210-9.

Needs of young children with cancer during their initial hospitalization: an observational study.

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  • 1Division of Nursing, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to describe young (under the age of 7) children's needs as expressed by their behavior, body language and verbal expression through observations during their initial hospitalization after being diagnosed with cancer. Twelve children under the age of seven were followed during 26 hours with non-participant unstructured observations. Field notes were written after each observation and transcribed into a narrative text, which was analyzed by content analysis at both manifest and latent level. Five themes were identified, of which "need to have the parent close by" was the most prominent. The other themes were "need to play and feel joy," "need for participation in care and treatment," "need for a good relationship with the staff," and "need for physical and emotional satisfaction." The results indicate that the children needed their parents and the parents' presence helped the children to express other needs. Professionals need to support the child and his or her parents so that the parents in their turn can support and alleviate their child's hospitalization and cancer treatment.

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