An Examination of Interactions Between Health Care Providers and Adolescents with a Parent in Hospice

Publication Title

Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing

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adolescents, communication, health care interactions, hospice, parental death




Interviews conducted with adolescents living with a dying parent were examined to identify the type of interactions the adolescents had with members of a hospice health care team. Four types of interactions were identified: no interactions, in-passing interactions, engaged interactions, and formal interactions. Results indicated that most of the adolescents had no contact with the hospice health care team or interacted with providers only briefly. Some adolescents reported more engagement with 1 or more hospice health care team members, and a few received formal counseling services from the hospice health care team or outside provider. Overall, limited contact occurred because of logistics or because the teens perceived that hospice services were exclusively targeted to dying patients, not their families. Based on these findings, strategies to increase engagement between adolescents and hospice health care team are discussed.