Palliative care aims to provide holistic, family-centred care to patients with life-limiting illnesses. Parents with dependent children (under the age of 18) account for 5-10% of patients known to palliative care, however these children can be peripheral to the support provided. Lack of confidence, professional detachment and concerns about causing harm can inhibit the provision of appropriate advice/support to dying parents around their children. Based upon interviews with a diverse sample of 32 children and young people living with parental life-limiting illness, the session will discuss the needs and support preferences of this vulnerable cohort. Five evidence-based recommendations for healthcare professionals, when working with patients with a life-limiting illness who have dependent children, will be outlined.
There is no handout for this session.
Dr Stephen Marshall
Palliative Care Social Worker, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust & Research Associate, King’s College London
As a clinical academic at King’s, Steve combines research and teaching with clinical practice as a social worker in palliative care. Steve has over 20 years’ experience in palliative care and has a particular interest in supporting children and young people. Steve completed his PhD in 2016, having conducted research into the experience of teenagers and young adults having cancer treatment. Steve was co-PI and lead researcher on a recent Marie Curie funded project exploring the needs of children facing the death of a parent. This research involved interviewing children and young people aged 6-17 about their experience of living with a parent with a life-limiting illness. The outcome of the research will be good practice, evidence-based guidelines for all healthcare professionals working with children facing parental bereavement.