Understanding the financial and psychological impact of employment disruption among caregivers of pediatric HSCT recipients: a mixed methods analysis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) confers a substantial financial burden onto patients' families. In addition to high direct medical costs, HSCTs typically require at least one caregiver to take time away from work or other responsibilities, often leading to reduced household income. Using mixed methods, we sought to understand the impact of pediatric HSCT on caregiver employment and financial need. METHODS: We surveyed caregivers of living pediatric patients who underwent HSCT at one of two southeastern transplant centers between 2012 and 2018 (N = 95). We then interviewed a subset of caregivers (N = 18) to understand whether and how employment disruption contributed to financial distress. RESULTS: Among caregivers surveyed, the majority of household wage earners changed their work schedules to attend medical appointments and missed workdays. This resulted in income loss for 87% of families, with 31% experiencing an income reduction of over 50%. Qualitative interviews pointed to four emergent themes: (1) employment disruption exacerbated existing financial challenges; (2) parental division of labor between caregiving and providing financially led to heightened psychological distress; (3) existing employment leave and protection resources were essential but not sufficient; and (4) the ability to work remotely and having a supportive employer facilitated employment maintenance throughout the HSCT process. CONCLUSION: Expanded employment protections and access to accommodations are needed to limit the impact of HSCT on household income, health insurance, and financial hardship. Additionally, interventions are needed to ensure caregivers are equipped with the information necessary to navigate conversations with employers and prepare for the financial and psychological reality of employment disruption.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Biddell, CB; Kasow, KA; Killela, MK; Page, KM; Wheeler, SB; Drier, SW; Kelly, MS; Robles, JM; Spees, LP

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 4747 - 4757

PubMed ID

  • 35132462

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8821838

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1433-7339

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00520-022-06883-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany