Talking to children about serious illness
Making Impossible Conversations Possible
Talking to children and young people about illness and death is important for their mental health.
STEP BY STEP GUIDES FOR talking about Illness
Please click on these links for free access:
for Healthcare Professionals
A 4 step guide to help you talk to your patients about telling children
A step-by-step guide to talk to children about an adult's serious illness
Communicating the Death of a Relative
Support for Schools
Guide for Schools
The team have developed a guide specifically for school staff, to whom children may turn to ask questions or share their experiences or worries about illness and bereavement during the last few months.
Support for Care Homes
Support for Care Staff
This animation is for care home staff who have sadly had to face the death of residents or colleagues during the pandemic.
Communicating difficult news about the health of a child or adolescent over the phone
Communication to Children
The Importance of Communication to Children
It is critical to highlight the importance of ensuring adult’s everyday communication with children reflects their developmental understanding and that adults are authentic about the uncertainty and psychological challenges of the pandemic.
Previous Work and Publications
In 2019, we led a Lancet series summarising the available evidence on communication with children about the diagnosis of their own life-threatening disease and about a life-threatening disease in a parent.
IN THE NEWS
The New York Times:
How to Prepare Your Kid for a Coronavirus Exposure at School
Children's Mental Health - Importance of Effective Communication
The New York Times:
Helping Children with Pandemic Grief
The Best Way to Parent in a Crisis Is to Tell the Truth
How COVID-19 is changing the worlds children
Real Talk Training:
Making Impossible Conversations Possible - Resources for professionals and families during COVID-19
Communicating the Diagnosis of Life Threatening Conditions to Children, Recent Guidance Specific to COVID-19
Dr Louise Dalton and Dr Elizabeth Rapa presented their work in May 2020.
COVID Conversations: Protecting Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health, with Professor Alan Stein in conversation with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.
This talk was broadcast on Wednesday 24th June 2020.
Questions and Feedback
If you have any questions about the resources provided, or require different formats/language versions please get in touch with a member of the team.
We would like to thank Dr Helen Griffiths, Dr Brenda Kelly, Dr Shaun Wilson, Dr Virginia Davies, Dr Sally Hope, Dr Matthew Hotton, Cecilia Hoegfeldt, Julia Ruiz Pozuelo, Helena Channon-Wells, Gemma Brock and Suzy Shepherd for their support, contributions and insight.
Generous funding for the staff animation was provided by Oxford Hospitals Charity