Chronic illnesses are prolonged conditions that last more than a year. These conditions require consistent medical care to help a patient go through their daily lives. Examples of chronic diseases are asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. These are more common in older adults, but a chronic illness can hit children, too.
For children with chronic illness, it is even more critical to provide the utmost care. For parents, taking care of a child with chronic disease is challenging. Hence, home health care services may be necessary. This is to ensure that the child is given proper care.
Aside from the physical and medical challenges a parent of a chronically ill child faces, emotional needs are also present. This article provides a guide on dealing with chronically ill children and helping them get through life with a disease.
How a parent communicates with their child is necessary to help the patient deal with their illness better. Honest communication is the key.
When communicating about a severe medical condition to a child, the patient must be assured that they can get through this illness by getting proper medical care. The tests a child needs to go through and the medicines they need to take must be adequately explained. The child must be assured that all of these tests and drugs are part of making the child feel well.
When questions arise, a parent must give honest answers that a child can easily understand. A child can be prepared before undergoing treatments by explaining clearly the possible pain and discomfort that comes with the treatment. Do not lie when a child asks if the procedure hurts; instead, reassure them that the pain is temporary, and after the treatment, they are likely to feel better.
It’s also crucial that the kid is assured that a parent is there, ready to support them throughout these discussions.
If you’re unsure how to adequately explain the medical treatments and tests that your child needs to go through, seeking the help of a medical professional is a good choice. These professionals can likely explain the complexities of a medical treatment better.
Dealing with Emotions
A child may not know how to deal with or express their feelings yet. As a parent, it is crucial to encourage a child to articulate what they are feeling inside. Ask them about their fears and concerns, and listen intently to what they are trying to say. By doing so, a parent can answer the child’s concerns and be more sensitive about the patient’s emotions.
In addition, a child’s emotions can be expressed in non-verbal ways. It can be expressed through drawings, paintings, music, and different forms of art. Through this, a child can also forget about the physical pain temporarily and calm their nerves.
Children must also be reminded that being afraid is normal. Kids must also know that none of the things they feel physically is their fault; a disease can happen to any person. What’s important is the assurance that support is there every time they are frightened.
It is also essential to recognize that a parent cannot answer all of a sick child’s questions. Going back to honesty in communication, when a child asks if they will be okay, it is okay to answer, “I don’t know.” In this case, it is vital to say that a parent may not know the cause of the disease, but doctors and experts can help treat the condition.
Let the child be angry. Let them feel their emotions. Emotions are passing, and it is essential to let them out instead of keeping them inside. Embrace, accept, and understand their feelings; after, provide them with the necessary support they need.
Additionally, parents must also treat their kids as normally as possible. This means setting limits when a child develops behavioral issues due to too much anger. After all, a kid is still a kid, and a parent still needs to fulfill their role.
Lightening Your Load
Aside from dealing with a child’s emotions, it is stressful for the family members, too. Hence, it is necessary to deal with these emotions and take the proper steps to lighten the load.
One way is by managing time into blocks. As chronic illnesses are long-term diseases, dealing with the situation by planning it weekly may help ease the stress. Also, rest is necessary. For one to take care of someone, one has to take care of themselves first.
Additionally, as much as a child needs support, a parent needs support, too. Hence, asking for help from relatives and friends is helpful. This can be in the form of emotional support. It can also be in financial aid, as dealing with chronic illnesses may be costly.
With these ideas in mind, dealing with your child’s chronic illness can be more manageable. The path may still be arduous, but you can face the issues head-on.