Up to 80% of ill and injured children and their families experience some traumatic stress reactions following life-threatening illness, injury or painful medical procedures. Not only children are affected - 20-30% of parents experience persistent traumatic stress reactions. Many things about being in the hospital and having an ill or injured child can be traumatic for parents.
- Initial life threatening illness or injury diagnosis
- Seeing their child in pain, having invasive procedures or hooked up to medical equipment
- Exposure to distress, or death of other patients
- Ongoing uncertainty about prognosis
- Treatment difficulties or set backs
- Feeling helpless, or feelings of self-blame
- Making decisions under high stress conditions
- Fear of their child dying
Parents are understandably focused on helping their child, but it is also important to help them care for themselves. Balance is the key, since healthy parents will be better able to care for their children and guide their children to a full recovery emotionally and physically.