Distressing Symptoms in Children with Cancer in General; During Needle Procedures in Particular
Sammanfattning: The main aims of this thesis were to investigate the effect of distraction, midazolam and morphine on fear, distress, and pain during needle procedures, and to longitudinally describe parents’ perceptions of their children’s symptom burden during and after cancer treatment.The design in Study I-III was that of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in a medical setting; Studies II-III were placebo controlled. Study IV has a longitudinal design, and data were collected at three times during treatment and three times after the end of successful treatment. Participants in Study I were children aged 1 to 7 (n=28), in Study II children aged 1 to 19 (n=50), in Study III children aged 1 to 19 (n=50), and in Study IV parents (n=160) of children aged 1 to 19.Blowing soap bubbles or having a heated pillow reduces children’s fear and distress in connection with needle procedures. Low-dose oral midazolam 0.3mg/kg body weight is effective in reducing fear and distress, especially in younger children. Interestingly, oral morphine at a dose of 0.25mg/kg body weight does not reduce fear, distress or pain.These studies have evaluated interventions that may be of help for the most frightened children during needle procedures. We suggest that the first-line intervention against procedural fear, distress, and/or pain should be standard care (i.e. EMLA) in addition to distraction interventions when needed, and only when this is insufficient to add pharmacological interventions.According to parents, feeling drowsy, pain, and lack of energy are initially the most prevalent symptoms in their children, whereas less hair than usual is the most prevalent symptom during treatment. Pain, feeling sad, and nausea are initially the most distressing symptoms. Pain is both prevalent and distressing throughout treatment. The child’s symptom burden, as reported by parents, decreases over time. Information about distressing symptoms and when they can be expected may increase acceptance and adaptation in children and parents during and after cancer treatment.
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