Healthcare Professionals’ Knowledge of Family Psychosocial Problems in Pediatric Cancer: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background:

Best practice guidelines for the treatment of cancer now advocate for a child- and family-centered model of care and a psychosocial model of risk prevention. However, healthcare professionals (HCPs) report a number of barriers preventing the implementation of psychosocial care, including an absence of tools to help identify psychosocial problems within the family.

Objectives:

The aims of this study are to (1) explore the psychometric properties of the Psychosocial Care Checklist (PCCL) and (2) test if the PCCL can differentiate the degree to which HCPs are aware of psychosocial problems within the family (patient, siblings, parents) of a child with cancer.

Methods:

Thirty-seven HCPs caring for a child with cancer completed the PCCL at time 1 (2-4 weeks after diagnosis) and 29 HCPs completed the PCCL at time 2 (2-3 weeks after).

Results:

The PCCL had strong test-retest reliability for all domains (α > .60) and strong internal consistency for the total PCCL (α = .91). Interrater reliability was moderate for the oncologist-nurse dyad with regard to sibling knowledge (r = 0.56) and total psychosocial knowledge (r = 0.65). Social workers were significantly more knowledgeable than both nurses and oncologists about total family problems (P = .01) and sibling problems (P = .03).

Conclusions:

Preliminary findings suggest that the PCCL has adequate test-retest reliability and validity and is useful in differentiating the degree to which HCPs are aware of psychosocial problems within the family, with social workers being the most knowledgeable.

Implications for Practice:

Using the PCCL may help HCPs to identify psychosocial problems within the family and appropriately allocate psychosocial resources.

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