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Using Your Past And Present Experience Of Nursing Practice Settings Consider Situations Where You Have Helped To Care Or Interact With Children.

1647 words - 7 pages

Whilst on clinical placement, in Critical Care, I cared for a male patient who had a 9 year old daughter with Cystic Fibrosis. The girl will be referred to as Ellie throughout this essay, in order to maintain confidentiality, as recommended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002).Ellie has a 5 year old brother and an 11 year old sister and lives with her mum and dad. Her dad was my patient and had been admitted to Critical Care routinely following surgery.In this case study I will discuss the possible affects that Ellie's chronic illness had on her, and on her family. I will also consider the nursing and organisational strategies available in the community, which are aimed at supporting families like Ellie's.The diagnosis of a chronic illness has a devastating effect on the child and family and constitutes a major family crisis (Eiser, 1990). Cystic Fibrosis is the most common inherited disease of childhood. Caring for a child with Cystic Fibrosis is stressful and this has implications for the main carer, the parental relationship, well siblings, and family functioning, as well as the affected child (Hodgkinson and Lester, 2002).Parents go through a sequence of emotions, which follow any bereavement, as they mourn the loss of their healthy child, experiencing shock, distress, denial, anger, guilt, worry, sadness and depression before they can make a realistic adjustment (Angst et al., 2001). Friend (1990) also found that parents feel guilty that they are the carriers of a genetic disease and worry that any future children may also inherit the disease.Mental health problems, particularly depression, are more common in mothers caring for children with Cystic Fibrosis, relating to the never-ending routine of the treatment, uncertainty about the future, the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis, and fears of future pregnancy. This was certainly the case with Ellie's mum, especially as she was worrying about her husband too.Hodgkinson (2002) found that the majority of mothers feel responsible for educating siblings about Cystic Fibrosis and involving them in daily routines. Some mothers have had to give up work or reduce their working hours. Due to Ellie's mum being on her own, whilst her husband was in hospital, she at times felt stressed and wondered how she would cope if the Cystic Fibrosis worsened.I think that the pressure to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to manage a child's chronic illness is a major stress to parents. Thompson et al. (1987) found that it was the parent's perception of such tasks that caused stress, rather than the tasks themselves. Ellie's mum said that she felt under immense pressure, particularly in the early stages, in learning how to give Ellie all of her treatment at home.The birth of a child with a chronic illness has a profound effect on a family. Children must suddenly adjust to a brother or sister who, because of their condition, may require a large proportion of family time, attention, money and psychological...

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