1346P - Network Kids: A project for children of cancer patients. Analyses of impact on quality of life and coping for families affected

Date 28 September 2014
Event ESMO 2014
Session Poster Display session
Topics Palliative and Supportive Care
Presenter Tobias Weiglein
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_4): iv471-iv477. 10.1093/annonc/mdu350
Authors T. Weiglein, U. Vehling-Kaiser, B. Betz, F. Kaiser
  • Hematoonkology, Schwerpunktpraxis für Hämatologie, Onkologie und Palliativmedizin Praxis Dr. Vehling - Kaiser, 84028 - Landshut/DE

Abstract

Aim

The well being of the whole family is fundamental for a patients quality of life. In particular, children with parents suffering from cancer need our intensive attention. Our “Network Kinds” is located in rural Bavaria, Germany. It is attached to an oncologic practice, giving aid at different levels: it offers psychological help, includes school psychologists and teachers when schooling problems arise, finances private tutoring or gives assistance in finding an apprenticeship. We place special emphasis on joint leisure activities and excursions that are accompanied by trained personnel. This undertaking is unique in Bavaria and has found great acceptance with our patients and their kin. The “Network Kinds” is privately funded and managed by two employees of the oncologic practice and has been active since 2012, including well over 50 children.

Methods

To assess the project's impact on quality of life, school performance, family situation and social factors, standardized questionnaires for children and parents taking part since for at least six months were analyzed. A total of 23 children and 17 parents were evaluable.

Results

The median age of the children was 10,3 years (range 4.5 to 17). 79% of the children stated that their parents illness was very hard on them, and 100% stated that their overall situation and their coping improved considerably through the Network Kinds. 81% found new friends, 100% enjoy the activities offered and 100% recommend this project. Interestingly, 78% stated that they do not talk to the other children about their parents illness at all. The impact on parents was also very positive: 88% reported a significant relief of family strain since participating. 100% stated that their children have a great benefit, and again 100% that the families coping is strongly improved. 50% report that their child has significantly worsened in school performance. 100% think that all families confronted with cancer should have the possibility to participate in a project like the “Network kids”.

Conclusions

Our project the “Network Kinds” is an affordable but rather time intensive undertaking, improving QOL, stress coping and children's development in cancer ridden families. We conclude that a financial support and broader implementation by the health system is justified for all families interested.

Disclosure

All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.