Effective Familial Coping with a Chronically or Terminally Ill Child
Due to a personal experience with chronic illness as a child and a passion for these children and their families, this thesis deals with effective and ineffective coping mechanisms of parents and siblings of a child with a chronic or terminal illness. A review of the literature is proposed and themes are identified for these families such as uncertainty about the child's illness and its prognosis and increased psychological and financial stressors on the family throughout the child's illness. Many of the resources utilized for the research on this topic discussed the increased stress on the entire family during a child's illness, promoting the use of the family systems approach when applying the nursing process. When using the nursing process with this approach, the nurse, along with the family, assesses the health history and dynamics of the family, diagnoses the important issues at hand, plans ways to alleviate these issues, implements appropriate interventions, and evaluates whether the interventions worked to improve the family's issues noted in the nursing diagnosis. Finally, nursing implications regarding effective and ineffective methods of coping for mothers, fathers, and siblings are outlined. This thesis provides nurses with a knowledge base for implementing a family nursing technique and promoting positive coping mechanisms for the families of children with chronic or terminal illnesses.