QUESTIONS UNDER STUDY: This paper explores parents' and patients' satisfaction with care in Swiss paediatric oncology settings and examines difficulties experienced while undergoing treatment for cancer.
METHODS: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 parents, and with 17 children who were diagnosed with cancer and receiving treatment. During these interviews questions pertaining to communication and decision-making at time of diagnosis and throughout the illness course were asked. In this paper, we examined these interviews using thematic coding to identify themes with regard to satisfaction with care.
RESULTS: Generally, participants reported being very content with the care they received. Aspects that contributed to satisfaction were the friendliness and responsive nature of healthcare staff; helpful communication; and professionals going beyond their duties to care for the family. In spite of mainly being pleased with the care they received, participants underlined several issues that made their experiences at times difficult. These included frequent change of physician or receiving care from another unit, which for them represented lack of continuity of care; language problems; and challenges with reproductive health issues of the child. Additionally, patients suggested several ways to improve hospital stays and thereby patient satisfaction.
CONCLUSION: Participants reported being very satisfied with care delivered by paediatric oncology units. Nevertheless, they also identified problems that are worth addressing in order to efficiently tend to the needs of patients and families undergoing this difficult experience. Future research is needed to explore how care for children with cancer and their families can be further improved.