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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2012 May-Jun;29(3):119-32. doi: 10.1177/1043454212439626.

Grandparents' experiences of childhood cancer, part 1: doubled and silenced.

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University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


In this study, the authors examined the experiences of grandparents who have had, or have, a grandchild with childhood cancer. Sixteen grandparents were interviewed using unstructured interviews, and the data were analyzed according to hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition, as guided by the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Interpretive findings indicate that grandparents suffer and worry in many complex ways that include a doubled worry for their own children as well as their grandchildren. According to the grandparents in this study, this worry was, at times, silenced in efforts to protect the parents of the grandchild from the burden of concern for the grandparent. Other interpretations include the nature of having one's universe shaken, of having lives put on hold, and a sense of helplessness. The grandparents in this study offer advice to other grandparents as well as to the health care system regarding what kinds of things might have been more helpful to them as one level of the family system, who, like other subsystems of the family, are also profoundly affected by the event of childhood cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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