Considerations about hastening death among parents of children who die of cancer

Title

Considerations about hastening death among parents of children who die of cancer

Creator

Dussel V; Joffe S; Hilden JM; Watterson-Schaeffer J; Weeks JC; Wolfe J

Publisher

Archives Of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Date

2010

Subject

ICU Decision Making

Description

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the frequency of hastening death discussions, describe current parental endorsement of hastening death and intensive symptom management, and explore whether children's pain influences these views in a sample of parents whose child died of cancer. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Two tertiary-care US pediatric institutions. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 141 parents of children who died of cancer (response rate, 64%). OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of parents who (1) considered or (2) discussed hastening death during the child's end of life and who endorsed (3) hastening death or (4) intensive symptom management in vignettes portraying children with end-stage cancer. RESULTS: A total of 19 of 141 (13%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8%-19%) parents considered requesting hastened death for their child and 9% (95% CI, 4%-14%) discussed hastening death; consideration of hastening death tended to increase with an increase in the child's suffering from pain. In retrospect, 34% (95% CI, 26%-42%) of parents reported that they would have considered hastening their child's death had the child been in uncontrollable pain, while 15% or less would consider hastening death for nonphysical suffering. In response to vignettes, 50% (95% CI, 42%-58%) of parents endorsed hastening death while 94% (95% CI, 90%-98%) endorsed intensive pain management. Parents were more likely to endorse hastening death if the vignette involved a child in pain compared with coma (odds ratio, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.8). CONCLUSIONS: More than 10% of parents considered hastening their child's death; this was more likely if the child was in pain. Attention to pain and suffering and education about intensive symptom management may mitigate consideration of hastening death among parents of children with cancer.
2010

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

231-237

Issue

3

Volume

164

Citation

Dussel V; Joffe S; Hilden JM; Watterson-Schaeffer J; Weeks JC; Wolfe J, “Considerations about hastening death among parents of children who die of cancer,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 19, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/14473.

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