Using your past and present experience of nursing practice settings consider situations where you have helped to care or interact with children.

Essay by carolan74 March 2006

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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...