Healing the Hearts of Bereaved Parents: Impact of Legacy Artwork on Grief in Pediatric Oncology

Title

Healing the Hearts of Bereaved Parents: Impact of Legacy Artwork on Grief in Pediatric Oncology

Creator

Schaefer M R; Wagoner S T; Young M E; Madan-Swain A; Barnett M; Gray W N

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2020

Subject

grief; pediatric oncology; bereavement; Legacy-making

Description

CONTEXT: Approximately 12% of children with cancer will not survive, representing a devastating loss for parents. Strategies to improve parental coping and grief have been understudied. Although legacy-making is frequently offered as standard care to children with terminal illness and their families, these interventions have received little empirical attention. OBJECTIVES: This study qualitatively explores the legacy-making and grief experiences of bereaved parents who participated in legacy artwork with their child before his or her death from cancer. METHODS: Twelve bereaved parents and 12 healthcare providers participated in individual semistructured interviews guided by the Dual Process Model of Grief and Continuing Bonds theory. Qualitative data were analyzed via conventional content analysis. RESULTS: Five themes emerged. Legacy artwork allows for family bonding and opens communication regarding the child's impending death; provides opportunities for parents to engage in life review and meaning-making; is often displayed in the parents' home after the child's death, and parents take comfort in using these projects to continue their bond with their deceased child; can ameliorate parents' grief after their child's death; and may reduce healthcare providers' compassion fatigue and provide them an outlet for coping with their patients' deaths. CONCLUSION: Participating in legacy artwork may result in self-reported positive outcomes for bereaved parents before and after their child's death, including family bonding, enhanced communication, meaning-making, and improvements in grief. As a result of these benefits, children's hospitals may consider offering legacy artwork for children with cancer and their families.

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).

Citation List Month

Oncology 2020 List

Collection

Citation

Schaefer M R; Wagoner S T; Young M E; Madan-Swain A; Barnett M; Gray W N, “Healing the Hearts of Bereaved Parents: Impact of Legacy Artwork on Grief in Pediatric Oncology,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 14, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17397.

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