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.

The Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (CPTS) has designed a Self Care Workbook for Parents. This workbook was designed to help parents care for themselves while still caring for their child. The workbook is available for download on the Healthcare Toolbox website and hard copies are available by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.