Published: 2020-05-27 15:23 | Updated: 2020-05-27 15:58

Informing children of their parent's illness

Informing children of their parent's illness: A systematic review of intervention programs with child outcomes in all health care settings globally from inception to 2019

Children of the world. Photo: Robyn Jay, cc-by-nc-sa
Världens barn. Foto: Robyn Jay

Children are impacted when parents are ill. The children risk illness of their own and have the right by law to information, advice and support regarding their parent’s illness from the health care professional treating the parent. The impact happens trough psycho- social mechanisms and interventions for children with ill parents have been developed. Even though this is a common clinical challenge which health care staff by law are responsible to handle no previous systematic literature review has been published on the theme.

Now 13892 tiles were reviewed, and 32 articles selected. The studies had been conducted in psychiatry including substance abuse, cancer and HIV care. 21 of the articles evaluated child symptoms before and after intervention these found a moderate positive effect. Content analysis of the results of studies employing qualitative methodology resulted in four concepts important to both children and parents in interventions (increased knowledge, more open communication, new coping strategies and changed feelings) and three additional concepts important to parents (observed changes in their children’s behavior, the parent’s increased understanding of their own child and the relief of respite).

No studies had been done in important fields of medicine such as intensive care (for instance because of infection caused by COVID-19), neurology and primary health care. These finding are important to consider in continued efforts to find ways to give children information, advise and support when their parents are ill.

 

Publication

Oja C, Edbom T, Nager A, Månsson J, Ekblad S. Informing children of their parent's illness: A systematic review of intervention programs with child outcomes in all health care settings globally from inception to 2019. PLOS ONE. May 26, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233696

Contact

Charlotte Louise Oja

Affiliated to research

Anna Nager

Affiliated to research

Jörgen Månsson, adjungerad professor, Göteborgs University

Solvig Ekblad

Affiliated to research