The Child with Cancer: Family-Centred Care in Practice

The Child with Cancer: Family-Centred Care in Practice

The Child with Cancer: Family-Centred Care in Practice

The Child with Cancer: Family-Centred Care in Practice


Focusing on nursing care rather than disease processes, this excellent research-based text looks at issues such as discharge planning, adolescents and cancer, and coping strategies for family and staff. It concentrates on the psychological and social aspects of care and reflects the radical changes that have occurred in recent years in this field.


For each family the diagnosis of cancer or leukaemia in a child is the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Living through treatment, adapting to life after treatment or coping with life after a child's death are the most challenging tasks they will ever face. I worked in paediatric oncology in the late '70s and early '80s when the promise and the problems of aggressive therapies were just beginning. During that time, I learnt about partnership nursing from the children, their families, from experienced nurses and other professionals who faced these challenges together. This book reflects the years of progress that have been made since then, both in this specialty and in the wider world of child health care: family-centred philosophies and partnerships in care are the reality now, not just the way that a few skilled professionals worked 20 years ago.

Partnership with children and families is not an easy option. It requires skill, experience, diplomacy and a huge store of personal strength, especially in oncology where the decisions to be faced and the treatments to endure are so difficult. The explicit and implicit exploration in successive chapters of the concept of partnership and what it means in practice, provide new insights for the reader. It is good to see a recognition of the effect on nurses of working in this specialty: you cannot have an effective partnership if the nurses themselves are not supported adequately to become the friends and carers of the child and family.

Partnerships with fellow professionals and between agencies such as health, social services and education are also complex. The importance of co-ordination and communication are beautifully illustrated in the chapters on discharge planning and care in the community.

One of the striking things about the book is that the contributors are almost all clinical nurses, writing with the knowledge and confidence of expert practitioners. This is the way that nurses in the real world help children and families to steer a course through the trauma of diagnosis, through treatment and survivorship or death. Case studies illustrate and emphasise the key principles of care and reflective prompts encourage the reader to relate these principles to his or her own practice.

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