Parents’ spiritual and religious needs in young oncology


Parents’ spiritual and religious needs in young oncology


Darby K; Nash P; Nash S


Cancer Nursing Practice




Parents; spiritual care; Chaplain; holistic needs; religious needs; spiritual needs


Aim To identify the spiritual and religious needs of young people with cancer. This article is a summary of findings regarding parents, which are significant in providing holistic care. Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people and their parents. Staff participated in two focus groups. Data were analysed thematically. Findings Spiritual needs included the value of story sharing, cumulative effect of loss, importance of support from staff and friends, struggling with difficult feelings, mutual protection and autonomy, resilience, desire to make a contribution, cultural differences and boundaries. Religious needs included questions and experiences, the balance between parents’ and patients’ religious needs, and changing religious needs. Conclusion Complicated grief and other expressions of loss may be mitigated by: helping staff to meet the spiritual and religious needs of parents with the associated consequences for self-care; exploring boundaries; understanding the inverted transition whereby young people become more dependent on their parents at an age when they would usually be seeking greater autonomy; and being aware of specific religious beliefs that affect the way parents interpret illness.


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Journal Article


Darby K; Nash P; Nash S, “Parents’ spiritual and religious needs in young oncology,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 22, 2024,