Perceptions of the parents of deceased children and of healthcare providers about end-of-life communication and breaking bad news at a tertiary care public hospital in India: A qualitative exploratory study

Title

Perceptions of the parents of deceased children and of healthcare providers about end-of-life communication and breaking bad news at a tertiary care public hospital in India: A qualitative exploratory study

Creator

Das MK; Arora NK; Chellani HK; Debata PK; Meena KR; Rasaily R; Kaur G; Malik P; Joshi S; Kumari M

Publisher

PLoS One

Date

2021

Subject

communication; Nurses; Palliative care; Parents; Pediatrics; Physicians; Qualitative Studies

Description

BACKGROUND: Parents of dying children face unique challenge and expect compassionate support from health care providers (HCPs). This study explored the experiences of the parents and HCPs about the end-of-life care and breaking bad news and related positive and negative factors in Indian context. METHODS: This qualitative exploratory study was conducted at paediatrics department of a tertiary care hospital in Delhi. In-depth interviews with the parents (n = 49) and family members (n = 21) of the children died at the hospital and HCPs (6 doctors, 6 nurses and 4 support staffs) were conducted. Also events and communication around death of eight children were observed. Data were inductively analysed using thematic content analysis method to identify emerging themes and codes. RESULTS: Doctors were the lead communicators. Majority of parents perceived the attitude, communication and language used as by resident doctors as brief, insensitive and sometimes inappropriate or negative. They perceived that the attitude and communication by senior doctor's as empathetic, positive and complete. Parents recalled the death declaration by resident doctors as non-empathetic, blunt and cold. Most parents received no emotional support from HCPs during and after death of their child. All doctors expressed that death of their patients affected them and their emotions, which they coped through different activities. The overcrowded wards, high workload, infrastructural limitation and no formal communication training added to the emotional stress of the HCPs. CONCLUSIONS: Majority of the communication by the HCPs during the hospitalisation and end-of-life period were perceived as suboptimal by the parents. The HCPs were emotionally affected and faced end-of-life communication challenges. The study highlights the communication by HCPs and support for parents during the end-of-life communication and breaking bad news. It suggests adoption of context specific communication protocol and materials and training of HCPs in communication to improve the quality of care.

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Citation List Month

Special Edition #1 2022 List

Citation

Das MK; Arora NK; Chellani HK; Debata PK; Meena KR; Rasaily R; Kaur G; Malik P; Joshi S; Kumari M, “Perceptions of the parents of deceased children and of healthcare providers about end-of-life communication and breaking bad news at a tertiary care public hospital in India: A qualitative exploratory study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 30, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17868.