The Realization of Parental Knowing: End-of-Life Decision Making in Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation
AuthorRishel, Cindy Jo
Keywordsend-of-life decision making
parental decision making
pediatric bone marrow transplantation
AdvisorReed, Pamela G
Committee ChairReed, Pamela G
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBlood and marrow transplantation (BMT) has become an increasingly acceptable treatment for children with life threatening malignant diseases. Survival rates for transplant recipients vary from 23% to 63%. Children with complications from BMT, typically die in the hospital after a prolonged stay. The parental decision to allow a child to die a natural death is typically made in an aura of emotional duress and bewilderment at the complexity and volume of new information that must be assimilated.The purpose of this study was to describe the process of parental decision making for Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or to withdraw life support in pediatric BMT.The framework for this study was developed from the author's epistemology that blends neo-modernism (recognition of individual uniqueness yet acknowledgment that certain underlying universal principals exist) with the idea that the nature of all things may be viewed as an ongoing, self-constructing process.Grounded theory methodology was used. The sample (determined through theoretical sampling) consisted of seven parents of children who died following BMT and for whom the parent made an end-of-life decision. Data was analyzed using constant comparative analysis, a method that combines both substantive and theoretical coding of data with a qualitative style of theory development.The realization of parental knowing was the process that parents used to navigate the human problem of having to make the end-of-life decision for their children who were dying following blood and marrow transplantation. This process consisted of four categories: Developing Trust, Committed to Seeing It Through, Facing My Worst Fear, and Acceptance of Self.The knowledge gained from this study will inform nurses who care for children who are dying following pediatric BMT. Strategies may be developed that will assist nurses to support the development of parental trust, to help sustain the commitment of parents as they move through the BMT treatment journey, and to assist parents as they face their worst fear. As a result, parents should be better able to achieve an acceptance for themselves that will facilitate a more satisfying experience of the ever changing process occurring in their own lives.