Quality of Life for Pediatric Cancer Patients and their Families: The Application of Palliative Care Principles into Care by Children’s Hospitals
Edwards, Samuel Sarfo
This thesis looks into the pediatric cancer services provided by some of the nation’s most prestigious children’s hospitals. The goal is to assess whether or not the services provided by these pediatric cancer facilities align with palliative care principles known to contribute to the quality of life for patients and their families. This thesis presents literature describing the history of non-biomedical, quality of life factors as a research interest as well as past interventions related to quality of life factors. The work outlines the principles of palliative care as a credible framework for approaching holistic treatment for pediatric cancer patients. Services at three major American children’s hospitals (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) were analyzed for their alignment with palliative care principles. I argue for more comprehensive application of palliative care principles in services provided at Children’s Hospitals for pediatric cancer patients most notably as related to financial support and through the inclusion of expanded services such as grief and bereavement services, sleep services, home care, animal therapies, occupational therapies, hospital gardens, and ethical support.