Journal Article

How 'significant others' may support parents with decision-making about their child's cancer care: An integrative literature review


Aim: To synthesise what is known from current international evidence about how parents are supported by significant others when they are faced with making decisions about their child's cancer care. Background: Parents are faced with making challenging decisions when their child has cancer and may benefit from support. Whilst previous research has comprehensively explored how healthcare professionals can offer support, little attention has been given to how support may be informally provided from a parent's network of significant others. Method: An integrative literature review was undertaken and reported following the ENTREQ framework. Literature was identified from comprehensive database searching across four relevant databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsychINFO and British Nursing Database) and hand-searching reference lists of retrieved studies. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were critically appraised and then analysed using the Constant Comparative Analysis method. Results: Twenty-six articles were included in the review. Two overarching themes were identified. Theme 1— Dimensions of Decision-Making support— included three sub-themes: informational, emotional and instrumental mechanisms of support. Theme 2— Expectations of Decision-Making support— identified that parents’ expectations of their own role, and the role of their significant others, affected how decision-making was supported. Conclusions: Parents may seek and receive support from various significant members of their network, but there is a fine line between supportive and unsupportive behaviours. Relevance to clinical practice: Each family's unique personal, social and cultural context strongly impacts on their support needs, and nurses and other healthcare professionals should be mindful of how parents may access support from their significant others. Further indepth research around this area would contribute important knowledge around parents’ support needs.

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Jestico, Elizabeth C.L.
Schutz, Susan E.
Finlay, Teresa M.D.
Appleton, Jane V.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Nursing


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-01-18

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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