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Publication Date



DOI: 10.1016/j.pedn.2023.06.002


OBJECTIVE: Pediatric nurses work closely with families of children with new cancer diagnoses and can provide essential supports to promote coping and adjustment. This cross-sectional qualitative study aimed to gather caregiver perspectives on barriers and facilitators to adaptive family functioning during the early phases of cancer treatment, with a focus on family rules and routines.

METHODS: Caregivers (N = 44) of a child diagnosed with cancer and receiving active treatment completed a semi-structured interview about their engagement in family rules and routines. Time since diagnosis was abstracted from the medical record. A multi-pass inductive coding strategy was utilized to extract themes identifying caregiver-reported facilitators and barriers to maintaining consistent family rules and routines during the first year of pediatric treatment.

RESULTS: Caregivers identified three primary contexts that presented barriers and facilitators to engagement in family rules and routines: the hospital setting (n = 40), the family system (n = 36), and the broader social and community setting (n = 26). Caregivers reported barriers primarily related to the demands of their child's treatment, additional caregiving needs, and needing to prioritize basic daily tasks (e.g., food, rest, household needs). Caregivers reported that different networks of support across contexts facilitated family rules and routines by expanding caregiver capacity in distinctive ways.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings provided insight into the importance of having multiple networks of support to extend caregiving capacity in the context of cancer treatment demands.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Providing nurses with training to facilitate problem-solving skills in the context of competing demands may provide a new avenue of clinical intervention at the bedside.

Journal Title

Journal of pediatric nursing



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MeSH Keywords

Child; Humans; Cross-Sectional Studies; Adaptation, Psychological; Caregivers; Hospitals; Qualitative Research; Neoplasms


Family; Oncology; Pediatrics; Psychosocial; cancer


This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.

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