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Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children with sickle cell anemia: The parents' experience.

ABSTRACT

Genoidentical HSCT is currently the only curative treatment for SCA, preventing further vascular complications in high-risk children. Studies on the psychological implications of HSCT for recipient, sibling donor, and the rest of the family have been limited in SCA. This study enrolled ten families and used semi-structured interviews to explore the parents' experience at three time points: first before transplantation, then 3 months later, and 1 year later. Three themes emerged from the results: (a) the presence of anxiety, experienced throughout the process, and alleviated by coping strategies (positive thinking, family support, praying); (b) the ability to remain parents to recipient and other family members, despite apprehension and feelings of helplessness, reinforced by the mobilization of important resources at the individual/family levels; (c) the ability to acknowledge the opportunity for their child to be cured of the disease, despite feelings of guilt toward families without a donor, or their own families back home. Overall, the parental experience with HSCT is complex, involving intra-psychic, familial, cultural, religious, and existential factors. Thus, it is important for medical teams to be cognizant of these issues in order to provide the best support to families during the HSCT process. 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.