Paper Presentation: Supporting Parents Across the Treatment Continuum — Adding a Parent to the Brain Tumor Team: Evaluation of Peer Support Intervention for Parents of Children with Brain Tumors (204-3)

4:10 – 4:30 pm Thursday, September 13

1CNE  The physical and neurocognitive symptoms of childhood brain tumors present profound challenges to patients and families. Parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with brain tumors experience numerous stressors due to the complexities and uncertainties associated with treatment, long-term effects, and risk of relapse (Hutchinson, Willard, Hardy, & Bonner, 2009). To address these challenges, the California Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation provides hospital-based support to parents of children with brain tumors from a Veteran Parent (VP). A mixed-methods, cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention utilizing validated tools to compare parental resilience and impact of illness on the family between parents who met with the VP and those who did not.

Additional qualitative data gleaned from focus groups with stakeholders was analyzed using key constructs of social support theory. Although there were no significant differences in overall scores on the PedsQL™ Family Impact module or CD-RISC© between groups, parents in the intervention group scored better on items related to handling difficult decisions and painful feelings (p ≤ .02). Parents in both the English and the Spanish focus groups most frequently described support they received from the VP in terms of emotional and informational support. The social identity parents shared with the VP from their common life experiences provided a safe environment for this support. Results characterize the impact of peer parent support and elucidate parental need for emotional and instrumental support. (This study has been accepted for publication in 2018 in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing.) Due to the fact that there is limited information about peer support models specific to parents of children with brain tumors, this presentation will describe key outcomes from the study and highlight how a parent/professional partnership is implemented in the clinic setting.

Disclaimer: [1 CH] will be awarded for attending all three paper presentations presented during this timeslot. Partial credit is not available.