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Article

Fatigue and Sleep Experiences at Home in Children and Adolescents With Cancer

Michelle Darezzo Rodrigues Nunes
Eufemia Jacob
Kathleen Adlard
Rita Secola
Lucila Castanheira Nascimento
ONF 2015, 42(5), 498-506 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.498-506

Purpose/Objectives: To (a) investigate fatigue and sleep patterns of children and adolescents at home and (b) examine factors associated with fatigue and sleep.

Design: Descriptive with repeated measures.

Setting: Homes of study participants in Los Angeles and Orange, California.

Sample: 35 children and adolescents with cancer.

Methods: Data were collected using the PedsQL™ Multidimensional Fatigue Scale, which was completed once at home by each participant, and sleep actigraphs, which were worn for five days at home following discharge from hospitalization.

Main Research Variables: General fatigue, cognitive fatigue, sleep-rest fatigue, sleep duration, sleep quantity, sleep efficiency, and wake after sleep onset.

Findings: More than half of the participants had problems with fatigue at home. Significant correlations were found between sleep/rest fatigue and sleep duration. Factors that affected fatigue were age, gender, and cancer diagnosis. Adolescents had more problems with fatigue than children, and female patients had more problems with fatigue than male patients. Patients with sarcoma had more problems with fatigue than those with leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancer diagnoses. Adolescents slept less than children.

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with cancer have fatigue and sleep problems at home that vary by age, gender, and cancer diagnosis.

Implications for Nursing: Data from the current study support the need for nurses to provide teaching about fatigue and sleep at home in children and adolescents with cancer. Future studies are needed to examine interventions that may alleviate fatigue and improve sleep at home.

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