Serious illness Serious illness in a family Serious illness in a family The diagnosis of a life limiting illness can be devastating. It is natural for parents and carers to want to protect children from the diagnosis particularly when the person who is ill is undergoing treatment and the outcome is very uncertain. Children may well pick up on natural levels of stress and anxiety around them without understanding the cause. They are likely to notice changes to their world no matter how small and, to some degree, there will be inevitable changes to family life. These may be frequent hospital appointments or stays in hospital, or the person who is ill may change in appearance or behaviour. In the absence of information as to what is happening children may invent their own explanations, which may leave them feeling worried and upset. We know that children can be helped to live with the serious illness of someone they love by: Having information appropriate to their age and level of understanding Being given the opportunity to ask questions Being able to express their feelings and concerns Our professionally qualified Family Workers can help parents, carers and professionals find ways to support children through these difficult discussions. We will offer support about the ways in which different age groups may be affected, talk about how serious illness can be explained, taking into account the nature and stage of the illness, and give advice about how best to support children. We are able to provide direct, individual support to children and families. If you would like to access support for your family or a family you know, please give us a call.