P103 The daily experiences of life limited children and their families

Menezes, Antoinette (2013) P103 The daily experiences of life limited children and their families. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, 3 (Suppl). A46.2-A47. ISSN 2045-435X

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This is a society in which children are expected to live into adulthood. Not much is known about the long-term needs of children, who will not reach adulthood, but who may live with their conditions for many years.

To hear directly from life limited children and their families about their day-to-day experiences.

Case study provided the overarching strategy combined with participant observation, interviews and an invitation for young participants to use their own artwork and photographs to help them explain their day-to-day experiences. Eleven children, parents and siblings from ten families took part (39 participants).

Findings and discussion
Children diagnosed early in babyhood seemed to have an identity within which the illness was integrated, perhaps because they were growing children hardly able to remember a time before their illness.

The children who took part were going to lead short lives. Families tried to shut away this fact to get on with daily life and live life to the full for and with the child.

Common elements (‘moments of realisation’) in the children’s life stories emerged:

Questions of inheritance

Diagnosis and prognosis

Acute loss of abilities

Slow deterioration

Life threatening surgery

The cycle of crisis and survival

The child’s life and death.

These elements followed similar patterns across cases despite the range of diagnosis; they ebbed and flowed throughout the child’s life generating fear and uncertainty for the child and their family.

Care implications

Families lived day-to-day in a society that expects children to live into adulthood. Participants felt alone with the knowledge that their child would die young, aware of the wider social context Professionals should be aware that ‘moments of realisation’ in the child’s unfolding life might highlight times when pressure on family communication is heightened.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000591.125
Additional Information: Copyright © 2013 BMJ Publishing Group Limited. DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000591.125.
Subjects: Medicine and health
Depositing User: Antoinette Menezes
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 14:05
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:06
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/8006

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