"They were here, and they still matter": A qualitative study of bereaved parents legacy experiences and perceptions

Title

"They were here, and they still matter": A qualitative study of bereaved parents legacy experiences and perceptions

Creator

Jones MT; Albanese E; Boles JC

Publisher

Palliative Medicine

Date

2023

Subject

child; United States; Bereavement; adult; article; human; palliative therapy; grief; young adult; sibling; quality of life; epistemology; qualitative research; language; phenomenology; caregiver; perception; genetic transcription; semi structured interview; ritual; altruism

Description

BACKGROUND: Legacy building interventions are used in pediatric healthcare settings to help families cope with difficult healthcare experiences and typically reserved for intentional use at or near the end of a child's life. However, little is known about how bereaved families perceive the concept of legacy that these practices are meant to address. Emerging research challenges the view of legacy as a standardized, handheld keepsake item but rather as a summation of qualities and experiences that affect those left behind. Therefore, more research is needed. AIM: To explore the legacy perceptions and experiences of bereaved parents/caregivers in an effort to inform legacy-oriented interventions in pediatric palliative care. DESIGN: In this qualitative, phenomenological study grounded in social constructionist epistemology, bereaved parent/caregivers completed a semi-structured interview about their legacy perceptions and experiences. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using an inductive, open coding approach grounded in psychological phenomenology. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Participants were parents/caregivers and one adult sibling of children (ages 6months-18years) that died between 2000 and 2018 at a children's hospital in the Southeastern United States and spoke English as their primary language. <br/>RESULT(S): Sixteen parents/caregivers and one adult sibling were interviewed. Participants' responses converged across three themes: (1) definitions of legacy, including traits and characteristics, impacts on others, and the child's enduring presence; (2) manifestations of legacy, such as tangible items, experiences, traditions, and rituals, and altruism; and (3) factors perceived to affect legacy experiences, including characteristics of the child's death and one's personal grief process. <br/>CONCLUSION(S): Bereaved parents/caregivers define and experience their child's legacy in ways and manifestations that conflict with current legacy building interventions used in pediatric healthcare settings. Thus, an immediate shift from standardized legacy-oriented care to individualized assessment and intervention is needed to provide high-quality patient- and family-centered pediatric palliative care.

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

August List 2023

Collection

Citation

Jones MT; Albanese E; Boles JC, “"They were here, and they still matter": A qualitative study of bereaved parents legacy experiences and perceptions,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 20, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/19224.