Supporting family’s coping methods

  • Supporting family’s coping methods
    • Parents
        • Developing successful parent-professional partnerships
          • Promote primary nursing; in nonhospital settings, designate a case manager.
          • Acknowledge parents’ overall competence and their unique expertise with their child.
          • Respect parents’ time as having value equal to that of other members of child’s health care team.
          • Explain or define any medical, technical, or discipline-specific terms.
          • Tell families, “I am not sure” or “I don’t know” when appropriate.
          • Facilitate family’s effectiveness in team meetings (e.g., provide parents with same information as other participants).
        • Parents can be encouraged to discuss their feelings toward the child, the impact of this event on their marriage, and associated stresses such as financial burdens. 
        • For most families, regardless of their income or insurance coverage, financial concerns exist. 
        • The costs of caring for a child with special needs can be overwhelming.
        • One or both parents may have to sacrifice job opportunities to remain close to a medical facility or to avoid losing insurance benefits. 
        • Numerous volunteer and community resources are available that provide assistance, rehabilitation, equipment, and funding for a variety of health problems. 
        • National and local disease-oriented organizations may provide needed assistance and support to families that qualify.
      • Parent-to-parent support
        • Just being with another parent who has shared similar experiences is helpful. 
          • It may not need to be a parent of a child with the same diagnosis, because parents in the process of adjusting to a child with special needs—or finding respite services, educational or rehabilitative services, special equipment vendors, and financial counseling—tread a common path.
        • Another strategy is to ask another parent to talk to the parents. 
          • The nurse should seek out a parent who is a good listener, has a nonjudgmental approach to differences in families, and possesses good advocacy and problem-solving skills.
        • Parent groups are rich resources for information. 
          • Nurses can assist in starting a group by identifying one or two parents as leaders; sharing with them the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of other families who have expressed both an interest and a willingness to release their phone number and address; and guiding them in how to initiate a first meeting.
      • Advocate for empowerment
        • Nurses can advocate for methods that foster opportunities for parent empowerment.
          • Nurses can suggest reimbursement for travel and child care plus stipends to enable parents’ voices to be heard at meetings and conferences.


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