From diagnosis to treatment and management of a chronic illness, both children and parents experience a roller coaster of emotion. Treatment setbacks sometimes occur, in addition to physical changes and limitations. Parents often feel helpless when they see their child in pain, and a child in pain can feel angry, frustrated or depressed. Emotional support and family resources are vital to helping children and families cope with the painful and emotional aspects of treatment. One mother with a chronically ill daughter offers her advice to doctors and nurses:
1) Always acknowledge, appreciate and respect the family.
2) Please understand why we are so anxious to know a diagnosis.
3) We need to be partners in the care of our kids.
4) We know that part of being a team means getting bad news. However, you have the power to layer those conversations with as much hope and understanding as possible. Please do your best to exercise that power.”
Trauma informed care encompasses much of this mother's advice. By integrating trauma informed care into patient interactions, doctors and nurses can help reduce the impact of diagnosis and treatment as well as help their patients and families cope their distress. How do you help your patients cope with the diagnosis and treatment of a chronic illness?