Mixed-methods analysis of decisional regret in parents following a child's death from cancer

Title

Mixed-methods analysis of decisional regret in parents following a child's death from cancer

Creator

Feifer D; Broden EG; Xiong N; Mazzola E; Baker JN; Wolfe J; Snaman JM

Identifier

Publisher

Pediatric Blood and Cancer

Date

2023

Subject

Child; grief; Only Child; parent; decisional regret; mixed methods

Description

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Decisional regret is common in bereaved parents. We aimed to identify factors associated with and to explain patterns of parental decisional regret. METHODS: We used a convergent mixed-methods design including quantitative items and free-text responses from a survey of parents 6-24 months from their child's death from cancer. Parents expressed whether they had regrets about decisions during the end of their child's life (Yes/No/I don't know) and elaborated with free text. Results of qualitative content analysis of free-text responses guided development and interpretation of quantitative multinomial models. RESULTS: Parents (N = 123 surveys, N = 84 free text) primarily identified as White (84%), mothers (63%), and primary caregivers (69%) for their children. Forty-seven (38%) parents reported decisional regret, 61 (49%) indicated no regret, and 15 (12%) were unsure. Mothers (relative risk [RR]: 10.3, 95%CI: [1.3, 81.3], p = .03) and parents who perceived greater suffering at the end of their child's life (RR = 3.8, 95%CI: [1.2, 11.7], p = .02) were at increased risk of regret; qualitative evaluation revealed elements of self-blame and difficulty reconciling treatment choices with the ultimate outcome. Preparation for symptoms was associated with decreased risk of regret (RR = 0.1, 95%CI: [0, .3], p < .01) with qualitative reflections focused on balanced teamwork that alerted parents for what to expect and how to make meaningful final memories. CONCLUSIONS: Though decisional regret is common among cancer-bereaved parents, mothers and those who perceive more suffering in their children may be at particular risk. Close collaboration between families and clinicians to prepare for symptoms and proactively attend to and minimize suffering may help alleviate decisional regret.

Rights

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Citation List Month

2023 SE3 - Oncology

Citation

Feifer D; Broden EG; Xiong N; Mazzola E; Baker JN; Wolfe J; Snaman JM, “Mixed-methods analysis of decisional regret in parents following a child's death from cancer,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 23, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/19376.