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Michelson KN, Arenson M, Charleston E, Clayman ML, Brazg T, Rychlik K, Rosenberg AR, Frader J. Parental Views of Social Worker and Chaplain Involvement in Care and Decision Making for Critically Ill Children with Cancer. Children (Basel, Switzerland). 2022 Aug 26; 9(9).
BACKGROUND: Social workers (SWs) and chaplains are trained to support families facing challenges associated with critical illness and potential end-of-life issues. Little is known about how parents view SW/chaplain involvement in care for critically ill children with cancer. METHODS: We studied parent perceptions of SW/chaplain involvement in care for pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patients with cancer or who had a hematopoietic cell transplant. English- and Spanish-speaking parents completed surveys within 7 days of PICU admission and at discharge. Some parents participated in an optional interview. RESULTS: Twenty-four parents of 18 patients completed both surveys, and six parents were interviewed. Of the survey respondents, 66.7% and 75% interacted with SWs or chaplains, respectively. Most parents described SW/chaplain interactions as helpful (81.3% and 72.2%, respectively), but few reported their help with decision making (18.8% and 12.4%, respectively). Parents described SW/chaplain roles related to emotional, spiritual, instrumental, and holistic support. Few parents expressed awareness about SW/chaplain interactions with other healthcare team members. CONCLUSIONS: Future work is needed to determine SWs''/chaplains'' contributions to and impact on parental decision making, improve parent awareness about SW/chaplain roles and engagement with the healthcare team, and understand why some PICU parents do not interact with SWs/chaplains.