Bereaved Parents’ Health Status During the First 6 Months After Their Child’s Death

Nancy Dias, Debra Brandon, Joan Haase, Paula Tanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To examine bereaved parents’ physical, mental, and social health during the first 6 months after their child’s (<12 years) death from a life-threatening illness. Background and Significance: Bereaved parents have higher mortality and morbidity rates when compared to nonbereaved parents. Acute illnesses, hospitalizations, and medication changes are highest in the first 6 months. An understanding of bereaved parents’ health risk indicators can help inform development of health promotion and disease prevention measures. Methods and Analysis: A prospective descriptive study examined 8 parent dyads. Parents completed health surveys (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System–global, social, and sleep; Brief Symptom Inventory [BSI] 18), which are used to assess parents’ health at 3 and 6 months after their child’s death. Demographic data included a medical history, hospital or emergency department visits, and smoking and alcohol intake. Descriptive statistics were used to compare parents’ scores to US general population scores. Findings: Mothers’ and fathers’ physical, mental, and sleep health scores were typically within 1 to 2 standard deviations of the population norms. However, their social health scores were as low as 3 standard deviations and all parents’ scores were below population norms. Four (25%) of the 16 parents had new diagnosis during the first 6 months. Based on the BSI-18, 3 parents had their scores above population cutoffs, which warranted a need for further clinical evaluation. Conclusions: Health data highlight the “at-risk” health status of bereaved parents. Further validation of these data is required to support the development of health promotion and disease prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017

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Health Status
Parents
Health
Health Promotion
Population
Mental Health
Sleep
Equipment and Supplies
Hospital Departments
Health Surveys
Fathers
Hospital Emergency Service
Hospitalization
Smoking
Alcohols
Mothers
Demography
Prospective Studies
Morbidity
Mortality

Keywords

  • bereaved parents
  • bereavement programs
  • child’s death
  • health outcomes
  • health status
  • palliative and end-of-life
  • parental bereavement
  • pediatric bereavement care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Bereaved Parents’ Health Status During the First 6 Months After Their Child’s Death. / Dias, Nancy; Brandon, Debra; Haase, Joan; Tanabe, Paula.

In: American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 01.01.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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