November 23, 2021 – 07:07
About 600 children develop cancer in the Netherlands each year. This has a huge impact on the whole family and certainly the parents as well. Parents suffer from a lot of stress and sleep problems often. Feelings of stress and trouble sleeping can also reinforce and maintain each other. It is not yet known to what extent this plays a role in parents of children with cancer. There was also little knowledge about the effect of stress and sleep problems on parents’ quality of life. It was also not clear which parents were more likely to have trouble sleeping and feelings of stress. Rensen discovered, among other things, that more than a third of parents of children with cancer still had trouble sleeping years after diagnosis.
These parents also experience a lot of stress and this combination has a huge negative impact on their quality of life. The well-being of parents is closely related to the well-being of their children. Parents need rest and emotional presence to support their children in the best possible way. It is therefore essential that physicians care for parents during and after treatment and provide timely and adequate assistance and interventions when necessary. Finally, her research also enabled Rensen to better identify parents who are particularly vulnerable to the vicious cycle of fatigue and stress. These include parents with little social support, parents with chronic illnesses or parents with parenting problems. The results of this study suggest that these groups of parents need more attention.
Nikki Rensen: Parents of children with cancer: sleep, distress, and quality of life
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