Helping Children Understand Parent Advanced Cancer

Parents with advanced cancer can struggle with how to talk to their children about the disease. The University of Illinois Cancer Center, in partnership with the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle, is seeking patients to participate in a study that examines the effectiveness of two educational programs to help parents support children when a parent has cancer.

Participation in “Enhancing Connections” is free and open to patients diagnosed with advanced cancer who:

  • Have a child living at home at least 50% of the time who is between the ages of 5 and 17
  • Have a spouse/partner or parent surrogate (relative or friend) who lives with them and the child at least 50% of the time
  • Read and write English
  • Have access to a telephone

Study participants will be randomly selected – like flipping a coin – to 1 of 2 programs, both delivered by telephone using materials created by experts and nurse clinicians. The programs include ways to enhance communication with children, draw out their feelings and concerns, and decrease their stress related to a parent’s cancer. Program A comes with a mailed booklet along with a phone call from a specially trained patient educator, and Program B has five telephone-delivered sessions with a patient educator at two-week intervals.

Regardless of the program, participants and their spouse/partner or parent surrogate will be asked to answer questions over the phone to help researchers judge if the program was helpful to participants and their children. Questions will be asked before the program begins and again at 3, 6, and 9 months after program completion.

More information is available at this link:

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