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The resilient process of the family after diagnosis of childhood chronic illness: a qualitative meta-synthesis

      Highlights

      • Childhood chronic illness as a family stress has a serious effect on the family function.
      • The experience of the family resilient process presents complex, multifaceted, and dynamic process.
      • Specific intervention targeted at different period of family adjustment process is warranted to help families to recover from crises.

      Abstract

      Problem

      Childhood chronic illness has a serious effect on the whole family. As there is yet little known about how the families adjust to the diagnosis of childhood chronic illness, this qualitative meta-synthesis aims to further our knowledge regarding the resilient process.

      Eligibility criteria

      A meta-synthesis review was conducted to explore the resilient process of the family after diagnosis of childhood chronic illness using nine electronic databases PubMed (MEDLINE), Web of Science, the Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Wan Fang, CBM, and CNKI from each database's inception to December 31,2020. Snowball sampling and manual search were performed to identify other relevant studies.

      Sample

      Seventeen qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed into meta-synthesis.

      Results

      Three key meta-themes were identified across the studies: (a) disintegration and vulnerability: emotional fluctuation and household chaos; (b) adjustment and adaptation: struggle with family needs; (c) recovery and reconstruction: growth and expectation.

      Conclusion

      Family adjustment to childhood chronic illness presents a complex, multifaceted and dynamic process. Identifying characteristics of family processes provides some practical interventions for families with a chronically ill child.

      Implications

      There is a need for all health professionals and social care services to be aware of the experience of family adjustment of children diagnosed with chronic illness. The specific intervention targeted at different periods of the family adjustment process is warranted to help families to recover from crises and deal better with challenges.

      Keywords

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