Tony, Family doctor, Ivrea – illnesses are a part of life. It is important for the child to learn they can get sick, but the body can fix its self.
Our preliminary research, which was composed of mediated research, as well as interviews with doctors, parents and experts, provided us with several insights.
Children are people too
Many processes and practitioners in the health care industry do not treat children as people with specific needs. Often, practitioners will talk down to them, simplifying issues. Children need to be given appropriate information, so they can assume responsibility for their life. Children need to have solution designed to their needs and desires, while understanding that they have a great capacity for understanding information.
Sick is a part of life
Being sick is a natural part of life. Everyone gets sick, and our body was designed to combat day-to-day illness. Fever, cough and vomiting are all mechanisms the body has for us to recover from benign illnesses. Treating illnesses as a part of life, not making a child an outcast and being calm about this issue makes the recovery and treatment better for everyone.
Change of a social network
Around the child is always a social network. Obviously it depends on the child’s age, lifestyle etc. but it exists. People in this social network can include parents, family, friends, siblings and more. The people in these networks also have personal issues to deal with both related to the Ego and not related to the Ego, or indirectly attributed to the Ego. Unfortunately, sometimes alters fall out of the ego’s social network.
A new community is formed
Being sick places the person into a new community. From the healthcare workers, to other children around, a new social network is formed. This can often times be a positive thing (especially in the case of long term illnesses, diseases and disabilities) as support among peers can be more valuable then other resources because they can relate more directly to the child.
The Hospital is designed for Illnesses
Hospitals approach treatments from the point of view of the illness. They place machine and patient in a clinical environment trying to combat illnesses and diseases. While hospitals make provisions for a few amenities like visitations, in general they do not nicely accommodate the patients (they are starting to).
Hospitals, especially hospital staff, are very reluctant to incorporate new unfamiliar system that they are not comfortable with. As a result, it is left up to foundation and non-profit organization to try to address some of the more psychosocial needs of the patients.
Much of the equipment was designed for the medical community "with a 50’s aesthetic". Children often find these things boring, or cannot relate to them.
A New Identity
For more serious illnesses or medical issues, the child may follow changes that lead them to a new identity. Children must learn to cope with this new identity in a positive manner so that they do not feel like a victim. Children must learn to deal with a possible lifestyle change as well. Learning about how to talk about it with peers is an important step.
Back to School
Children that have gone through a long-term Post-Illness situation have to read just to life back at school, but often it is not the same as it was. Regain one identity and not acting like a victim are very important in a return to one’s social circle. Peers will also have difficulty in adjusting to one’s return; they may be shy or want to ask questions.
A New Mediator Is Created
When a child becomes sick, his family becomes a mediator between him and his social networks. Family members would organize visitation and manage connections to school.
It’s Family Problem
Parents have day-to-day tasks that they must perform in order to provide for their family. When children are sick, this can interrupt the normal schedule. For longer-term illnesses, a permanent change will probably occur in their lifestyle. Changes could include modified work hours, attention to siblings and organization between family members. These changes can cause many anxieties within a family.