Informing Parents as Caregivers With a Symptom Assessment App Developed for Children With Cancer.

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DOI: 10.1177/27527530211073307


Background: Mobile health technologies can assist children to communicate their symptom experiences in a developmentally appropriate format. However, few investigations have examined how mHealth resources may also assist parents in their caregiver role. The purpose of this study was to explore how a symptom assessment app designed for school-age children with cancer could further inform parents as caregivers. Methods: Nineteen parents (18 mothers; median 35 years old, range 26-48 years) of children (6-12 years of age) receiving cancer treatment participated in the feasibility/acceptability trial of a game-based symptom assessment app. Acceptability interviews with parents were completed after each child's trial with the app. We completed a secondary analysis of the parent interviews using thematic analysis to examine how the app could support parents in their caregiving role. Results: Parents perceived the app to (1) elicit the child's voice about his/her symptom experience; (2) provide a supportive and safe environment for the child to report symptoms; and (3) create an opportunity to facilitate communication between the child, parent, and clinical team. Parents expressed a willingness for their child to represent his/her experience with the app so that they could make informed decisions regarding symptom care. Discussion: Perceived benefits of the app extended to parents as they described developing further insight into their child's cancer experience. The knowledge gained allowed parents the potential to enhance symptom communication and supportive care strategies. Future research should further evaluate how mHealth tools facilitate shared symptom management between children receiving treatment for cancer and their caregivers.

Journal Title

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol Nurs





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MeSH Keywords

Adult; Caregivers; Child; Female; Humans; Male; Mobile Applications; Neoplasms; Parents; Symptom Assessment


child; mHealth; mobile apps; neoplasm; parent; qualitative methods; symptom assessment

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