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A Nurse-Led Structured Discharge Teaching Intervention for Parents of Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Oncology Patients

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Wendy Landier, RN/PhD
Grant Type: 
Nurse Researcher Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
General Pediatric Cancer
Project Description: 


Over 15,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. Parents of these newly-diagnosed patients require specialized education (patient/family education) in order to provide ongoing care for these children at home. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, parents are frequently required to master new and challenging skills - such as central line care and management of complex home medication regimens - and to maintain vigilance for problems that may require immediate medical intervention. Lack of adequate patient/family education has the potential to result in complications, such as infection, dehydration, or unscheduled hospital admissions that may potentially be preventable.

Project Goal

Patient/family education is an important element of pediatric oncology nursing practice, but there is currently a lack of evidence available to guide nurses in providing optimal education for parents of newly diagnosed patients. Recent expert consensus recommendations have been developed by the Children's Oncology Group, but have not yet been tested to determine whether they are effective.  In this study, we will test a nurse-led, structured discharge teaching intervention that incorporates these expert recommendations (including standardized and streamlined content and individualized approaches tailored to parental learning preferences) into discharge teaching for parents of newly diagnosed children. We will then determine the impact of this intervention on key outcomes, including parental readiness for discharge, perceived quality of education, post-discharge coping difficulty, emergency room visits and unplanned hospital admissions, thus addressing an issue of vital importance to pediatric oncology nursing and to parents of children with cancer.

"We know that when a child is diagnosed with cancer, this is an incredibly stressful time for parents. This research, made possible through the generosity of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, will help nurses to understand the most helpful ways to provide the crucial education that parents need to safely care for their children at home during this difficult time."  -- Wendy Landier