Title : The maternal overload in a pediatric oncology unit: a picture exteriorized by mothers in a universe of blame, stigmas and responsibilities
Introduction: The maternal figure is the caregiver and principal target of the family impact suffered in this condition in various areas. And it is nonetheless vulnerable to the overload arising from these impacts. The overload can be portrayed as being the product of the sum of several accumulated stressors. Despite having some instruments that evaluate the caregiver's overload, it was evident that these instruments have some limitations to the understanding of the experience of maternal overload with the care of children with cancer, especially from the mother's perspective. The issue of caregiver overload has already been studied from others perspectives, from the own cancer patient and their family members, not only mothers. And in fact it has been proven that they overlook or underestimate this issue, that is, they do not care about the overload of the caregiver. The maternal overload, in the family context, in the care of the child with cancer can be studied as a key element for the analysis and intervention of the family nurse, contributing not only to a theoretical construct, but also to the field of practice of care. Objectives: To understand the experience of maternal overloud in the care of the child with cancer from the perspective of the mother. Methodology: Symbolic Interactionism was adopted as a theoretical framework and the Grounded Theory as methodological framework. The study was conducted in a public hospital, reference in pediatric oncology. Data was collected from six mothers through semi-structured interviews in the second semester of 2017. They were selected independently of the child’s diagnosis and most of their were married, either in their first or second marriage, aged between 19 and 41 years old, had 1 to 3 children and with an absense of strong family ties. The study was conducted in a public hospital in the city of São Paulo, reference in pediatric cancer care, where about 900 children are treated per month. Mothers were informed of the objectives of the study, form of participation and other requisites abiding by the ethical requirements like the Informed Consent Form applied before each interview.
Results: The analysis of the speeches revealed the perspective of mothers of children with cancer as caregivers, by attributing meanings for this experience suffer and need to deal with the emotional, social, physical, financial, family, informational and moral. And with that they seek some alternatives to minimize the overhead while they aim to share the overhead with other family members.
Conclusions: The findings of this study revealed that the phenomenon of overload is composed of several overloads wich are frequently interrelated to each other in a dynamic and permanent way. Being the mother inserted in this dynamic process of coping with these overloads. The maternal figure, main person involved in care, experiences the overload with the care of the sick child, facing limitations and responsibilities. Publications point to sharing practices with other family members and to expansion of this theme.