Having difficult conversations

Earlier this month, in the Independent on Sunday, Rainbow Trust contributed to an article regarding how doctors have very difficult conversations with parents when telling them that there is nothing more medically they can do to help their child.

Rainbow Trust think that this is an important subject to discuss and contribute to, and would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts on the matter further.

We believe that because every family is different, and every circumstance the family is in will be different, there will never be an absolute right way of having this conversation.

One thing we do know though is that having social support as well as medical support for families is crucial. Rainbow Trust is able to offer additional support to a family during this time. Our support can vary, but because we provide a dedicated Family Support Worker for each family, they have a familiar person with them, that is known to the whole family and can offer emotional support if and when needed.

On a practical level we can distract children so parents can have time to themselves or allow them more time to ask the doctor questions. We are also able to help explain next steps and any medical terms they have not understood. We can also provide the family with transport to and from the hospital, meaning they don’t have to drive themselves or take public transport.

Finally, as the ramifications of news like this can have a huge impact on a family, we are there for all the next steps for as long as they need us. We are able to continue providing emotional support for all family members, help plan for next steps like bringing the child home, or plan their funeral arrangements. We can also signpost the family to additional services and help parents have difficult conversations with siblings and the child who is ill. When in bereavement, we continue supporting families for as long as they need us.

We are by no means the solution to this situation. However we think it is important that the social support a family needs and the longer-term impact on the family are taken into consideration. It is vital that the support the family needs is provided and that it is free to access.

If you would like to enquire about support from Rainbow Trust, please call 01372 363438.

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