alexa What Conversations Do Bereaved Parents Remember?
ISSN: 2165-7386

Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine
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What Conversations Do Bereaved Parents Remember?

Richard D. Goldstein*

Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA , USA

*Corresponding Author:
Richard D. Goldstein
MD, Dana 2008, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA
Tel: 617-632-6637
Fax: 617-582-9148
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: December 23, 2014, Accepted date: December 26, 2014, Published date: January 5, 2015

Citation: Goldstein RD (2015) What Conversations Do Bereaved Parents Remember?. J Palliat Care Med 5:202. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000202

Copyright: © 2015 Goldstein RD This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Memories of conversations with health professionals are among the outcomes in the end-of-life care of children. Little is known about their nature or content. We conducted interviews with bereaved parents to determine whether there were conversations with healthcare professionals that they continue to revisit, positive or negative, five years following their child’s death, and consider their themes. Methods: Parents of children who had died aged 1 month to 11 years were interviewed, using a focused ethnographic approach. Thematic analysis was performed on interview transcripts.

Results: Families recalled specific negative (10/16) and positive encounters (11/16). Positive memories exhibited empathic protectiveness, personal disclosure by health care providers, and authenticity. Negative memories revealed medicalized insensitivity to the family’s experience and emotional distance.

Conclusions: Bereaved parents had memories of specific conversations with healthcare professionals years following their child’s death. They did not recall family meetings or technically-oriented moments, but moments marked by relational aspects. Insensitivity or lack of empathy were negative themes.

Empathic protectiveness, personal disclosure, and authenticity at moments in care created enduring positive memories. The findings support the importance of humanistic involvement with patients, demonstrating the enduring impact of healthcare professionals in critical life events.


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