Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

Play helps children with cancer

2016-03-07

Children are a particularly vulnerable group in health care. Results from a pilot study shows that pretend play can help children with cancer communicate with doctors and nurses. CRB is about to start a three year project to find out if this method can help these children improve their quality of life and well-being.

Anna T. HöglundChildren with cancer are seldom included in decisions about their treatment and care and health care staff don’t always agree on whether it is good for children to be involved. Anna T. Höglund, Associate Professor of Ethics and Senior Lecturer at CRB has been running a pilot project on pretend play together with her colleague Sara Holm, whose PhD project focused on children’s pain. The pilot was supported by the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation (Barncancerfonden). According to Anna T. Höglund, the pilot showed that the play intervention worked well and in several cases seemed to have the intended effect, improving these children’s ability to communicate with hospital staff.

Anna T. Höglund recently received 900 000 SEK from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation to continue this work as a full scale study. The study will investigate whether pretend play can improve these children’s well-being and quality of life. They will also find out if this method makes it possible for children to develop their influence and emotional repertoire, as well as their communication skills in care situations. 

Want to find out more? Read nterview with Anna T. Höglund.

By Josepine Fernow

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