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The Voices of Cancer-Bereaved Siblings: A Nation-Wide Long-Term Follow-up
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences. Norge.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4736-500X
Högskolan Dalarna.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8185-781X
2018 (English)In: Pediatric blood & cancer: Supplement: Abstracts from the 50th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Kyoto, Japan November 16–19, 2018, 2018, Vol. 65, p. 555-556, article id PO-297Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background/Objectives: Siblings face many challenges and the aim of this paper is to explore bereaved siblings’ memories and experiences of their brother's or sister's illness and death.

Design/Methods: In this nationwide Swedish study 174 of 240 (73 %) bereaved siblings participated and 70 % responded to two open‐ended questions on siblings’ positive and negative memories and experiences of illness and death. The data were analyzed using systematic text condensation.

Results: The bereaved siblings’ responses were categorized into four different themes: endurance vs. vulnerability; family cohesion vs. family conflicts; growth vs. stagnation; professional support vs. lack of professional support. Endurance was expressed as the influence that the ill siblings’ willpower, good mood and stamina had on the healthy siblings, whereas vulnerability was expressed as the feeling of emptiness and loneliness. Family cohesion was expressed as the bonds being strengthened between family members, whereas family conflicts often led siblings to feel invisible and unacknowledged. In the third theme, most siblings expressed feeling that they grew as individuals in the process of their brother's or sister's illness and death, whereas others experienced stagnation because of the physical and mental distress they bore throughout this time, often feeling forgotten. In the last theme, most siblings perceived support by physicians and staff at the hospital as being warm, kind and honest, while some siblings had negative experiences.

Conclusions: Our study shows that bereaved siblings can have positive memories and experiences, even though the death of a sibling is a distressing situation. The significance of the positive buffering effect on the bereaved siblings’ own endurance, personal growth, family cohesion and social support should be noted. The knowledge acquired by listening to the voices of bereaved siblings can be valuable in showing healthcare professionals the importance of supporting siblings of children with cancer throughout the cancer trajectory and afterwards into bereavement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 65, p. 555-556, article id PO-297
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7332DOI: 10.1002/pbc.27455ISI: 000445195005021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-7332DiVA, id: diva2:1290653
Conference
50th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Kyoto, Japan November 16–19, November 2018
Available from: 2019-02-21 Created: 2019-02-21 Last updated: 2019-02-21Bibliographically approved

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Lövgren, MalinKreicbergs, Ulrika
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