Custody planning: A retrospective review of oncology patients who were single parents

Lia Willis, Marlys Peck, Stacey Sells, Kerry J. Rodabaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


With rising numbers of single-parent families, a phenomenon becoming increasingly prevalent is the child orphaned by cancer. We sought to examine issues related to custody planning addressed prior to the patient's death. Ten deceased patients with minor children were identified. The contact person was administered a brief questionnaire regarding the minor children and custody issues. The study involved twenty children, ages ranging from 3-20, mean age 9.8. Only five of the ten families developed custody plans that were ultimately successful. One-half of the families reported the patient had suffered with this issue and almost one-half of the children were not aware of the custody plans that had been arranged for them. In 40% of the cases, the children ultimately went to people to whom the deceased parents were opposed. It is our belief that if we can improve these statistics, we might improve the quality of life of these families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-384
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Custody planning
  • Parental death
  • Permanency planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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