The experiences of mental health professionals using structured family-centered interventions to support children of cancer patients

Mika Niemelä, Leena Väisänen, Catherine Marshall, Helinä Hakko, Sami Räsänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Increasing interest has been focused on providing psychosocial support and preventive care for the children of adult cancer patients. Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to describe clinicians' experiences using structured family-centered interventions to address the needs of children whose parent has cancer. Methods: Using a narrative method, qualitative data were collected from interviews with 7 experienced clinicians who had used structured family-centered interventions in families with a parent with cancer. Results: Narrative analysis revealed 4 primary thematic categories: interteam collaboration, focus on the children, death, and perceived impact of interventions. Conclusions: It is important to identify the needs of children and provide appropriate support to the entire family of adult cancer patients. To effectively support a family with divergent needs requires good interteam collaboration and networking with local services that are available for children. It is important to acknowledge and address the needs of children of cancer patients. In so doing, parents benefit and are empowered in their parenting role. Families can be helped to address their concerns, particularly death issues, through effective interteam collaboration. Clinical Implications: Evidence gained from the experiences of health professionals in clinical practice is important and forms a basis for focusing next on producing research-based evidence regarding the effects of interventions. The benefits of the interventions we describe must be clearly demonstrated by comparison with usual treatment practices before applying them widely in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E18-E27
JournalCancer nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Children
  • Family
  • Family nursing interventions
  • Intervention
  • Psychological well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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