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Family life and parental illness

Rachel Fearnley
Family life and parental illness

Parental life-limiting illness is not prejudiced and can (and does) affect any family without warning. The consequences for the patient must be really hard – but what about their children? They too are living with the illness, they too have fears, worries and one hundred and one other emotions – but who it there for them? Often no one – research (including my own) has shown that health care professionals, social workers and teachers often feel that it is not ‘their job’ to talk to the children and also often feel ill-prepared for such conversations. We also know some of the affects the illness can have on the children – their education, their health (physical and mental), their relationship with peers, their relationship with their parents and family and their identity. My new book Our Family and IT begins to explore some of these issues. It is about an ordinary family facing extra-ordinary life-changing circumstances. They are not prepared for all the changes and challenges and have to try and find a way through it. We need to start thinking more widely than the illness – we need to think about the children involved too. I hope that Our Family and IT will contribute to making a change.  


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