Dr. Alexander Everest Shares Ways to Help Children Understand Palliative Care Before Visiting a Loved One

Dr. Alexander Everest Shares Ways to Help Children Understand

Explain That Their Loved One May Look Different

When people are suffering from a major illness, they often experience effects on their outward appearance. They will not be the same lively people before their illness, and children should be told that their loved ones will be different on the outside but the same person on the inside.

Address Their Fears

Many children are afraid of illness and death, just as adults can be. It is important to sit down with your child and go through any worries and fears they may have before and after visiting their ill loved ones.

Emphasize Connecting With Their Loved One

Though their loved one may look different on the surface and may tire easily, children should know that their loved one still feels the same way about them. If children do not want to sit and talk with their grandparents or other relatives, arranging a game or another family activity could be a fun way to engage everyone. This will also lift the ill loved one’s spirits.

Let Children Know that Their Loved One Tires Easily

Children should be prepared for the fact that someone undergoing palliative care typically has little energy for daily life activities. The visit will probably need to be short to avoid tiring them too much, and they will not have the power to play or talk in the way they once did.

Help Children Understand Their Illness

Older children and teens, in particular, should be taught about what the patient’s illness is and how it is affecting them. Children who are better-informed will have fewer worries and will be able to interact with their loved ones more naturally.

Understanding the Rules of Visiting

Children should be told whether it needs to be quiet in the room where their loved one is staying. They should be taught not to touch sensitive equipment like monitors, IV stands, and pain medication delivery devices. If a child is too young to understand, parents should supervise them carefully and perhaps cut their visit short.

Explain Confusion and Agitation

Knowing When to Visit and Not to Visit

Only you, as a parent, can choose to allow your child to visit an ill loved one. In most cases, children are resilient and able to deal with the issues that may come up when they see their loved one’s illness in a person.

Listen to Children’s Concerns

After your children have visited their ill loved one undergoing palliative care, they will likely have many questions. Some children do not exhibit curiosity about these matters, but most want more information. Above all, children need to know how their loved one’s illness and possible death may impact them.



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Alexander Everest

Alexander Everest

Dr. Alexander Everest has over 20 years of experience in key positions in the healthcare industry.