Attending Patient Funerals as a Follow-Up Practice of Pediatric Oncologists

Delaney Schoenbine, James Gerhart, Katherine A. McLean, Joseph deBettencourt, Farnaz Dadrass, Edwin Molina, Michael Hoerger, Sarah Alonzi, Paul Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed pediatric oncology professionals’ attitudes and attendance at patient funerals. Many professionals endorsed some level of agreement that funeral attendance respects professional boundaries. Nearly all pediatric oncology professionals (89.2%) reported attending a patient funeral at least once, a rate significantly higher than estimates in other specialties (p <.001). Attitudes and rates of attendance were slightly higher in older physicians. While periodic funeral attendance may have been somewhat normative in this sample, further reflection and research is needed to ensure the risks and benefits of involvement in funerals and other family rituals and practices are better understood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIllness Crisis and Loss
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • death
  • funeral attendance
  • grief
  • patient-provider relationship
  • pediatric oncology


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