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Parents’ perspectives on conflict in paediatric healthcare: a scoping review
  1. Emily Parsons1,2,
  2. Anne-Sophie Darlington2
  1. 1Savannah Neurology, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Emily Parsons, Savannah Neurology, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; emily.parsons{at}


Background Conflict in paediatric healthcare is becoming increasingly prevalent, in particular relation to paediatric end of life. This is damaging to patients, families, professionals and healthcare resources. Current research has begun to explore perspectives of healthcare professionals (HCPs), but the parental views on conflict are lacking.

Objectives This scoping review explores parental views on conflict during a child’s end of life. In addition, parental views are mapped onto HCPs’ views.

Methods A search was completed of the databases CINAHL, PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and Medline between 1997 and 2019, focused on parents of children with involvement with palliative or end-of-life care referring to conflict or disagreements.

Results The review found 10 papers that included parental views on conflict. Data on conflict were categorised into the following seven themes: communication breakdown, trust, suffering, different understanding of ‘best interest’, disagreements over treatment, spirituality and types of decision-making. In particular, parental expertise, perspectives on suffering and ways of making decisions were significant themes. A subset of themes mirror those of HCPs. However, parents identified views of conflict unique to their perspective.

Conclusions Parents identified important themes, in particular their perspective of what constitutes suffering and ‘best interest’. In addition, parents highlight the importance of being recognised as an expert.

  • palliative care
  • psychology

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  • Contributors EP and A-SD designed the work and EP acquired the data. EP and A-SD interpreted the data. EP and A-SD drafted the work and revised it critically for intellectual content. EP and A-SD approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Data availability not applicable as no datasets generated for this study.

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