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Eur J Cancer. 2008 Aug;44(12):1625-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2008.02.045. Epub 2008 Mar 28.

Enhancing the supportive care of parents with advanced cancer: development of a self-directed educational manual.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Queensland, K Floor, Mental Health Centre, Herston 4029, Australia.


Diagnosing and treating young patients with cancer can be stressful for health professionals; however, when the prognosis is poor and the patient has dependent children, even experienced clinicians can feel distressed and helpless. Parents with advanced cancer commonly express anxiety about the impact of the disease on their children, yet health professionals often feel unable to respond constructively because of lack of training, or concern that discussion about such difficult issues will compound parental distress. In response to this problem, an educational manual has been devised to assist oncology staff to better understand the emotional impact of parental advanced cancer, encompassing information about specific reactions of children, including strategies to help children and families cope. This paper describes the development and content of the resource which provides clinically relevant information and evidence-based recommendations to guide supportive care. The manual differs from the more traditional didactic resources in that it examines the very personal impact for professionals working with parents with advanced disease, encouraging reflection and engages the reader in clinical exercises which encourage active learning and application of knowledge into authentic clinical contexts. Although the manual is designed primarily for nurses, it is clear that much of the information is relevant for all health professionals involved in the care of parents with advanced cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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