When a child is terminally ill

Kathryn Elison, MSW Clinical Social Worker, shares advice for parents with a terminally ill child on the best way to discuss death with them and comfort them
Hospitalized Child Advice | Helping Your Terminally Ill Child
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When a child is terminally ill

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In the unfortunate event that your child is going to die from their illness, it is very important to have a conversation about their illness and their prognosis. Studies have shown that when children know that they are going to die and have an open and honest conversation with their child, it actually helps parents cope after their loss. Having this conversation is an opportunity to get your child's wishes, opinions, feelings about what is happening. It allows them to be active in the process and it allows you to get some information that you might not get if you never talked about it. You don't want that opportunity pass without having a very real conversation with your child. It's going to be something that you remember and you want to enter into this conversation. If you find that you don't have the words, you can explore with other professionals about how to have this conversation. A Clinical Social Worker can work with you to give you the words and to role play the conversation, or even be there with you during this conversation; to create a special moment that is a wonderful experience between a parent and a child in this situation.

Kathryn Elison, MSW Clinical Social Worker, shares advice for parents with a terminally ill child on the best way to discuss death with them and comfort them

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Kathryn Elison, MSW

Clinical Social Worker, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Kathryn Elison is a Clinical Social Worker at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She was drawn to her profession because of her passion to provide support to families experiencing a medical crisis. Kathryn accompanies her patients and their families during one of the most stressful journeys of their lives, helping them navigate through this challenge and supporting them each step of the way. A native of North Carolina, Kathryn moved to Los Angeles, CA after receiving a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys exploring her new home state of California with her husband Jed and her dog Sallie.

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