DOI: 10.1177/10748407231213862 ISSN: 1074-8407

Grandparents’ Experiences of Childhood Cancer: A Qualitative Study

Jenny Davies, Moira O’Connor, Georgia K. B. Halkett, Lauren Kelada, Nicholas G. Gottardo
  • Family Practice
  • Community and Home Care

A child’s cancer diagnosis has a significant impact on the lives of grandparents. Grandparents experience the stress of worrying about both their adult children and their grandchildren. Our study aimed to explore the lived experience of grandparents of children diagnosed with cancer. A qualitative design involving semi-structured interviews was used and data were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Twenty grandparents aged 41 to 77 years were interviewed. Six themes were identified: (a) Diagnosis: changing everything; (b) Aspects of treatment: A different world; (c) Sandwich generation; (d) Family: Worrying about everyone; (e) Balancing work; and (f) It’s like suddenly a door opens. Our study demonstrates the life-changing impact of having a grandchild diagnosed with cancer. It expands on existing knowledge and shows that, due to an aging population and demographic changes, some grandparents must juggle the demands of caring for aging family members and working while supporting adult children and grandchildren.

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