A Global Quality of Life Intervention: Wish Fulfillment for Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 12:20 AM

Bonnie Ewing, PhD, RN
Nursing, Adelphi University, Huntington, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to gain an understanding of the experience of a child who had a special wish fulfilled.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will gain knowledge of hermeneutic interpretation of children's drawings translates into practice.

Purpose: Discern the meaning of having a special wish fulfilled for a child with a life threatening illness.

Methods: Hermeneutics using artworkof children with life threatening illnesses.  
Results: The health care of children with life threatening illnesses is a global concern that requires nurses to discover alternate ways to mobilize healing in children who suffer enormous pain and sorrow.  The fulfillment of a special wish for a child with a life-threatening illness is a worldwide phenomenon to provide comfort for children whose lives are limited. Research was conducted to discern the meaning of having a special wish fulfilled for a child with a life-threatening illness. Hermeneutics was used to conduct an ontological philosophical inquiry by interpreting the drawings of these children. The art of the children revealed universal symbols of hope and joy in the form of rainbows and smiles. However, the children’s artwork also depicted symbols and images of anxiety, loneliness, and suffering. 

Conclusion: Wish fulfillment is revealed as a way for the child become, to move toward future possibilities. Children can become empowered do something more or be something more by going on a trip, meeting someone who holds special meaning, or obtaining a special gift that will provide quality of life for the child. This holistic comfort measure helps the child to discover a sense of balance in the face of uncertainty, pain, and suffering. The fulfillment of the wish brings together family, friends, and community to unite in making the dream become a reality. Nurses from all countries can help these children maintain a sense of hope and belief that they can meet the challenges of having a life-threatening illness as they exist within the tension of living and dying.