Nurses’ communication with dying children and their families in pediatric oncology: A literature review

Maryam Yadegari, Janet Rankin, Jessie M. Johnson


The last period of life for a child dying from cancer is of critical importance, not only for the child, but also for the child’s parents and other relatives. Health care professionals, especially nurses, face multiple challenges when caring for children dying from cancer. By better understanding the conversational topics that arise in the care of children dying from cancer and their families, nurses may best manage the communication challenges that arise during this difficult time of suffering. This literature reviews aim is to examine and gather evidence about topics that support nurses’ communication when caring for children dying from cancer and their families. There are central conversations that pediatric oncology nurses should be comfortable with: death and dying; EOL decision making; symptoms and suffering. In pediatrics, play and playfulness should be maintained. Issues related to hope are integral to the parents’ experience. Literature indicates that the involvement of palliative care teams improves the EOL experience for parents and children.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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