Family Logistical Concerns

There are important logistical concerns that require a family's attention during the course of their child's physical illness. These family concerns can be categorized as 1) material needs, 2) relationship issues, 3) preexisting psychosocial concerns, and 4) individual family member responses. These concerns can be exacerbated by the development and subsequent management of a physical illness in childhood. The medical team and/or mental health consultant should identify these concerns during the initial assessment and ongoing care of the patient.

Families may feel overwhelmed at the time of illness diagnosis as a result of the need to make significant changes in their family structure and routines (see Table 29-4). Families may require basic logistical support and guidance (e.g., understanding and accessing health insurance, respite care, and visiting nurse care). It can be helpful to families to identify resources for them in their communities (e.g., after-school programs, summer camps) or alert them to family support networks related to the physical illness (e.g., the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Association) (Madsen 2003).

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