Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 26--29

Communication to pediatric cancer patients and their families: A cultural perspective


Assistant Professor in Hematology, Room 5017, Teaching Block, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Tulika Seth
Assistant Professor in Hematology, Room 5017, Teaching Block, AIIMS, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.63131

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Background: Communication is a key component of palliative care. The area of pediatric palliative care is emotionally distressing for families and healthcare providers. Inadequate communication can increase the stress and lead to mistrust or miscommunication. Materials and Methods: Reviewing the literature on communication between physicians and patients, we identified several barriers to communication such as paternalism in medicine, inadequate training in communication skills, knowledge of the grieving process, special issues related to care of children and cultural barriers. In order to fill the void in area of cultural communication, a study questionnaire was administered to consecutive families of children receiving chemotherapy at a large, north Indian referral hospital to elicit parental views on communication. Results: Most parents had a protective attitude and favored collusion, however, appreciated truthfulness in prognostication and counseling by physicians; though parents expressed dissatisfaction on timing and lack of prior information by counseling team. Conclusion: Training programs in communication skills should teach doctors how to elicit patients' preferences for information. Systematic training programs with feedback can decrease physicians stress and burnout. More research for understanding a culturally appropriate communication framework is needed.






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