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Symptoms and Self-Management Strategies Identified by Children With Cancer Using Draw-and-Tell Interviews

Lauri A. Linder
Heather Bratton
Anna Nguyen
Kori Parker
Sarah E. Wawrzynski
ONF 2018, 45(3), 290-300 DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.290-300

Purpose: This cross-sectional study described how school-aged children with cancer represent their symptoms and associated characteristics using draw-and-tell interviews.

Participants & Setting: 27 children aged 6–12 years receiving treatment for cancer at the Cancer Transplant Center at Primary Children’s Hospital, a tertiary pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Methodologic Approach: Children participated in draw-and-tell interviews while completing drawings depicting days when they felt well and days when they felt sick. Children’s drawings and accompanying explanations were analyzed qualitatively.

Findings: Children’s drawings related symptoms and the strategies children used to self-manage those symptoms. Nausea, fatigue, pain, and sadness were the most frequently reported symptoms. Strategies to manage symptoms most often included physical and psychosocial care strategies.

Implications for Nursing: Children with cancer were able to relate detailed descriptions of their symptoms and symptom self-management strategies when presented with developmentally sensitive approaches. Healthcare providers are well positioned to integrate arts-based approaches to symptom assessment and to support children in implementing their preferred strategies to alleviate symptoms.

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