Author(s): Scott JT, Harmsen M, Prictor MJ, Sowden AJ, Watt I
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Communication with children and adolescents with cancer about their disease and treatment and the implications of these is an important aspect of good quality care. It is often poorly performed in practice. Various interventions have been developed that aim to enhance communication involving children or adolescents with cancer. OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about their cancer, its treatment and their implications. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the following sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003; MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2 2003); EMBASE (1985 to 2003 week 4); CINAHL (1982 to December week 4 2002); Dissertation Abstracts (1861 to January 2003); ERIC (1966 to January 2003); PsycINFO (1985 to January week 4 2003); Sociological Abstracts (1963 to January 2003).For the initial (2001) publication of this review we also searched the following databases: PsycLIT; Cancerlit;; Sociofile; Health Management Information Consortium; ASSIA; LISA; PAIS; Information Science Abstracts; JICST; Pascal; Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts; Mental Health Abstracts; AMED; MANTIS. We also searched the bibliographies of studies assessed for inclusion, and contacted experts in the field. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and before and after studies that evaluated the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about their cancer, treatment and related issues. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data relating to the interventions, populations and outcomes studied and the design and methodological quality of included studies were extracted by one reviewer and checked by another reviewer. A narrative summary of the results is presented. MAIN RESULTS: Nine studies met the criteria for inclusion. They were diverse in terms of the interventions evaluated, study designs used, types of people who participated and the outcomes measured. One study of a computer-assisted education programme reported improvements in knowledge and understanding about blood counts and cancer symptoms. One study of a CD-ROM about leukemia reported an improvement in children's feelings of control over their health. One study of art therapy as support for children during painful procedures reported an increase in positive, collaborative behaviour. Two out of two studies of school reintegration programs reported improvements in some aspects of psychosocial wellbeing (one in anxiety and one in depression), social wellbeing (two in social competence and one in social support) and behavioural problems; and one reported improvements in physical competence. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Interventions to enhance communication involving children and adolescents with cancer have not been widely or rigorously assessed. The weak evidence that exists suggests that some children and adolescents with cancer may derive some benefit from specific information-giving programs and from interventions that aim to facilitate their reintegration into school and social activities. More research is needed to investigate the effects of these and other related interventions.
This article was published in Cochrane Database Syst Rev
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine