Breaking the silence about illness and death: Potential effects of a pilot study of the family talk intervention when a parent with dependent children receives specialized palliative home care.
- Weber Falk M, Eklund R, Kreicbergs U Alvariza A, Lövgren M
- Breaking the silence about illness and death: Potential effects of a pilot study of the family talk intervention when a parent with dependent children receives specialized palliative home care.
- Palliat Support Care
- doi: 10.1017/S1478951521001322
OBJECTIVE: The entire family is affected when a parent is severely ill. Parents often need and appreciate professional support when talking to children about illness and death. The family talk intervention (FTI) is family-centered and intends to promote communication about the illness and its consequences, support parenting to enhance family coping and help family members share experiences with each other to create a shared family history. This study aimed to explore potential effects of FTI in specialized palliative home care, as reported by parents.
METHOD: This pre-post test intervention pilot was conducted in specialized palliative home care. A convergent mixed-method design was used to analyze interview and questionnaire data. Twenty families with dependent children were recruited from two specialized palliative home care units in Stockholm, Sweden.
RESULTS: Parents reported that family communication improved after participation in FTI as family members learned communication strategies that facilitated open sharing of thoughts and feelings. Increased open communication helped family members gain a better understanding of each other's perspectives. Parents reported that relationships with their partner and children had improved as they now shared several strategies for maintaining family relationships. Parents were also less worried following participation in FTI. The ill parents stated that they gained a sense of security and were less worried about the future.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: This study adds to the evidence that FTI may be a useful intervention for families with dependent children and an ill parent in a palliative care setting.