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  • Book
    Erica Swesey Savig.
    Digital2016
    While undergoing medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses, patients - and their family members - often experience emotional and psychological distress. This is particularly true during pediatric stem cell transplantation, where hospital isolation restrictions further impact normal childhood and family functioning. Many experience the extremes of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress symptoms. In this dissertation, we take a human-centered design needfinding approach to identify the internal "core needs" of children and their family members that are heightened during pediatric stem cell transplantation. Importantly, we learn how these needs are affected by their isolation environment, including the social milieu and hospital organization. The emotional and psychological vulnerability of the population demanded a finely crafted sensitive interview style, to help the interviewees comfortably reflect on their difficult past experiences. This resulted in the design of new activity-based tools and techniques that elicit deeply emotional stories and offer opportunities for positively transforming them. Interviews were also conducted with the interdisciplinary care team. Overall, five common core needs were identified: emotional and mental strength, social relatedness, autonomy, connectedness, and normalcy. By honing in on these core needs, new supportive care programs, interventions, hospital policies, clinical operations and care practices may be designed with the patient's and family's well-being in mind.