Counselling Children with Chronic Medical Conditions
'You can never understand what it feels like to be me. I'm never going to be normal now, am I? Why me? Why did it have to happen to me?' These worlds emphasize the important fact that all healthcare workers who come into contact with chronically ill children have the opportunity, through communicating effectively, to help and support both child and family, to make children feel better about themselves, and to improve the quality of their lives. Counseling techniques can help empower children to develop their own problem-solving strategies, and, as a consequence, help them feel more in control and enhance their self-esteem. Ten to 15 per cent of children are affected by long-term physical problems such as eczema, asthma, diabetes, congenital heart disease, and epilepsy. In addition, there are other conditions which may not strike as often, but which have unpredictable courses, sometimes involving degenerative processes, sometimes posing real threats to the Child's life.These include sickle cell anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, HIV infection, cancer and leukemia, and kidney disease.
Treatment advances may extend and improve the quality of life of children by controlling pain and other symptoms, but, by definition, chronic illness and disability cannot be cured. This book aims to help healthcare workers integrate the skills of facilitative communication into their daily working practice so that children and families can be provided with the best possible care and support. The book has been written for all staff involved in the care of chronically ill children: medical and nursing staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, play specialists, physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, health visitors, and allied staff. Parents faced with this difficult situation and wanting to know how best to talk to their child will also find the book helpful.