My role and responsibility: mother’s perspectives on the overload with the care of children with cancer

  • Aretuza Cruz Vieira
  • Mariana Lucas da Rocha Cunha
Keywords: Family Nursing; Caregiver; Pediatric Nursing; Family Relationships; Neoplasm.


Introduction: The maternal figure is the caregiver and principal target of the family impact suffered in this condition in various areas. And it is nonetheless vulnerable to the overload arising from these impacts. (Macedo et al., 2015; Moules, et al., 2016; Nascimento, et al., 2005). The maternal overload, in the family context, in the care of the child with cancer can be studied as a key element for the analysis and intervention of the family nurse, contributing not only to a theoretical construct, but also to the field of practice of care. (Bastawrous, 2013). Objectives: This study sought to understand the experience of maternal overloud in the care of the child with cancer from the perspective of the mother. Methodology: Field research that adopted as a theoretical reference the Symbolic Interactionism and as methodological based on Grounded Theory. The study was conducted in a public hospital in the city of São Paulo, reference in pediatric cancer care, where about 900 children are treated per month. Six mothers of hospitalized children were interviewed in the period from June 2017 to January 2018. The children were of pre-school and school age when the data was collected, in a period of more than three months of diagnosis to up to seven years of treatment. Those mothers were selected for the study independently of the child’s diagnosis and most of their were married, either in their first or second marriage, aged between 19 and 41 years old, had 1 to 3 children and an absence of strong family ties. Mothers were informed of the objectives of the study, form of participation and other requisites abiding by the ethical requirements like the Informed Consent Form applied before each interview. Results: The analysis of the speeches revealed the perspective of mothers of children with cancer as caregivers, by attributing meanings for this experience suffer and need to deal with the emotional, social, physical, financial, family, informational and moral. And with that they seek some alternatives to minimize the overhead while they aim to share the overhead with other family members. Conclusions: The findings of this study revealed that the phenomenon of overload is composed of several overloads wich are frequently interrelated to each other in a dynamic and permanent way. Being the mother inserted in this dynamic process of coping with these overloads. The maternal figure, main person involved in care, experiences the overload with the care of the sick child, facing limitations and responsibilities. Publications point to sharing practices with other family members and to expansion of this theme.