Parental knowledge and views regarding palliative care for children with cancer in Greece

Introduction: Palliative care (PC) refers to interventions aimed to improve the quality of life (QoL) of children  and their families by the prevention and relief of suffering. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowl- edge and views of parents of children with cancer regarding PC in Greece.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was performed in a sam- ple of 100 parents of hospitalized children in oncology departments  and a bone narrow transplant  unit of two pediatric hospitals in Attica, from February to June 2021. The “Evaluating Supportive Care for Children” tool was used. Data analysis was performed with SPSS v.23.0. All tests were performed  at a statistical significance level of p≤0,05.

Results: Only 19% of the participants  know about PC while no one reports personal PC provision experience. Highest  level of education and monthly  income were statistically significantly correlated with the knowledge of PC, (p=0,040) and (p=0,036)  respectively, and the positive  parental attitude towards PC inclusion in the child’s care (p=0,013).  The majority of parents rated the QoL of their children as good (46%) or very good (31%). Thirty two percent reported no or limited discussion with their child about their disease and treatment. Moreover, parents reported occurrence of pain in 95% of cases.

Conclusions: It is clear that Greek parents are unaware of PC, they overestimate their children’s QoL, and there is a noticeable  lack of adequate discussion regarding cancer and its treatment between parents and their children. Parents should  be more informed  about PC.