The experiences of grandparents involved in the home-based end-of-life care of their grandchild with cancer: A qualitative secondary data analysis

Nanna Maria Hammer, Pernille Envold Bidstrup, Marianne Olsen, Helena Hansson, Maja Abitz, Hanne Bækgaard Larsen

Abstract

While grandparents are often a valuable resource in home-based pediatric end-of-life care, they may also experience psychological consequences when faced with their grandchild's illness and death. In this qualitative study, we performed semi-structured interviews with seven bereaved grandparents of four children with cancer who received home-based end-of-life care and died at home at age <18. Through qualitative content analysis we identified the overarching theme: "Navigating complex and unclear roles to support the family" and five themes: (1) Providing comfort and support; (2) Balancing and adapting involvement; (3) Worrying silently; (4) Managing difficult emotions; and (5) Calling for support and understanding. The findings underline the often conflicting roles that grandparents undertake of providing support while respecting parents' autonomy and putting aside their own emotional reactions. Involving grandparents in pediatric end-of-life care may enhance family resources, but should also consider grandparents' perspectives and need for support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDeath studies
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
ISSN0748-1187
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2024

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