Blog post – findings update!
Thanks for checking back in with me, I know it’s been a while, as always!
I’m writing this post because I wanted to update you all on the Power of Dreams research study that I’ve been working on with Dreams Come True, and (finally!) tell you about some results.
This exciting project has been running for nearly three years now and I’ve just presented some of the findings at the 7th International Cardiff Conference on Paediatric Palliative Care which was held in Cardiff last week.
The theme of the conference was ‘Medicine and Compassion’, and there were talks by speakers such as Professor Julia Downing and Professor Richard Hain – both doing great research in the field of paediatric palliative care.
I presented on the second day, and I’m really happy to share some of what I talked about here. As a quick reminder, the project looked at the impact of dream fulfilment on dream recipients, siblings of dream recipients, parents and other family members. Here is a small overview of some of my main findings!
- The opportunity to choose a dream gave ill children and young people a sense of agency. Many children and young people, as a result of being ill and being young had many decisions made on their behalf by parents and health professionals. Choosing a dream therefore empowered children and young people, and gave them a sense of control over a part of their future.
- During the dream ill children and young people became distracted from illness routines and pain. Illness shifted from its central position in the family to the background. This meant that parents could spend time with well siblings, and during the dream reported feeling ‘normal’.
- Dream experiences gave families a chance to create memories. For some of the children and young people with short prognoses, dream experiences such as holidays were final family trips. Thus, the memories created during dream experiences were extra special.
- The positive memories created during dream experiences were used by family members after children had died. Memories of positive dream experiences (which existed amongst many difficult and distressing memories) were comforting and reminded siblings and parents of the deceased child. This was important in maintaining bonds with the deceased.
This small snapshot of research findings represents just some of what has emerged from this study. Families taking part in the study study have taught me, and the charity so much about the complexities of dream fulfilment, and extended our understanding of the impact of dream fulfilment.
I’m currently writing my findings up in thesis form and hoping to publish them in the future, so look out for exciting updates on this unique piece of work. For now though, it’s back to that thesis!