The Effect of self-care on the lives of children suffering from acute lymphocyt-ic leukemia

Mehri Golchin, Najmeh Sharifi, Shohre Ziaee, Parvin Taheri


  • BACKGROUND: Acute lymphocytic leukemia is one of the common cancers of childhood and currently, 80 percent of these children survive more than 5 years by getting the right treatment. Since long-term treatment is painful and invasive, preventing the side effects and their influence on quality of life is an important issue which introduces consideration for self-care. Consequently, the present study was conducted in 2007-2008 about the effects of self-care on the lives of children suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia, referring to treatment centers in Isfahan City.
  • METHODS: The present study was a two-staged, two-group clinical trial. 48 children aging 5-18 and suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia were selected through convenient sampling method and the training program was administered before them and afterwards, they were divided randomly into two groups of experiment (n = 24) and control (n = 24). The General Scale and Cancer Scale Quality of Life Identification Questionnaires were used to define the quality of life of the children. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire were in turn defined by content validity method and Cronbach’s alpha test. The experiment group received the self-care checklist after training and was controlled and examined for 3 months. The pre-and-post self care Quality of Life Questionnaire were both filled out in both groups and accordingly, the SPSS software, independent t test, chi-square and paired t tests were used to analyze the data.
  • RESULTS: The findings of the study showed that both groups were homogeneous by virtue of influential factors on quality of life, like age, gender, type, stage and duration of treatment (p > 0.05). There was no significant difference between the experiment and control groups' quality of life average scores before administering the self-care training program. The results of paired-t test in the experiment group after administering the self-care program showed a significant difference in General and Cancer Scale Questionnaires Quality of Life with that before administering the program, while no significant difference was observed in the control group. Also, the independent t-test showed a significant difference in the average of quality of life score shift after administering the self care between the experiment and control groups.
  • CONCLUSIONS: Quality of life improved after administering self-care training program in the experiment group while it did not improve in the control group and even the increase in average score of quality of life in Cancer Scale in this group was an indicator of an increase in problems related to disease, treatment and care. The results of this study showed the positive effects of administering self-care on the quality of life of children suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  • KEY WORDS: Acute lymphocytic leukemia, quality of life, self care, child.

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