Many children are diagnosed with some degree of kidney disease every day. Given the nature of this disease, as depicted in previous articles by Joe Cosgrove, it is quite hard for parents to digest such complication when kids are the ones affected. Their concerns about the whole thing are no less than legitimate; and feelings such as stress easily tend to appear; however, it is quite normal. When it comes to children suffering from chronic kidney disease, parents are somewhat forced to accept such reality without hesitation; nonetheless, they can also develop a practical way to cope with the daily complications and the very nature of the disease. The following words of advice were developed in hopes of providing families with helpful elements so that they can keep moving forward irrespective of the nature of their kid’s disease:
Get Familiar With What The Disease Is About
Learning about the disease, getting acquainted with the complication and its possible treatments is key. The basic word of advice would be: learn as much as possible about the disease and how it has been treated. Moreover, it is of high importance to convey this information to children: they actually understand a lot—and they are more receptive than the vast majority of adults.
Aside from the aforementioned idea, parents should spare no efforts in encouraging their children to ask questions to their doctors and nurses and pretty much every other health professional involved in the treatment. There is a myriad of aspects parents can learn from this, as they often abstain themselves from asking some questions just because they think they sound somewhat dumb. Having children ask whatever comes to their minds embodies a source of information and ideas that often go unnoticed by both parents and physicians.
In that sense, kids should not be given more than what they can handle and understand. This does not suggest, however, that parents should lie to their children. Be clear about the procedures and the treatments they are about to undergo. Therefore, try to help children understand that all the people—doctors, nurses, dietitians, nephrologists, social workers, etc.—are on their side. That all they want is to help them get better and healthier, even if it involves nagging treatments that may cause a certain degree of discomfort.
Be Proactive And Get Involved In the Kid’s Care
As a parent, it is not easy to see children suffer. Most parents tend to engage in pointless discussions with health professionals simply because they refuse to accept reality and the nature of the treatments that should be followed. Parents, the vast majority of times, are led by emotions—and all they want is for their children to get healthier. Thus, in order to more easily achieve the latter, parents should develop a sense of respect and cooperation with physicians. A good idea is to keep a detailed track about the kid’s medical history, paying special attention to dates. This comes in handy whenever children are referred to a new doctor. The idea is to make things easier.
Additionally, although seeing children suffer from chronic or any type of kidney disease is stressful and discomforting enough, parents should strive to be with their children as much as they possibly can during both treatments and possible hospitalization. Make sure kids are surrounded by their favorite things: books, toys, a special cushion or blanket, etc.
Teach Children How To Take Control Of Their Illness
Even though these might seem the worst days ever—and they possible are—, the idea is to keep a daily routine even during possible hospitalization. In the meantime, it is important to help children understand what doctors, nurses, machines are supposed to do and that they are for. For a kid, it can get really annoying to be in a room full of people and intimidating machines. By clearly explaining and helping them get acquainted with their surroundings, parents can help eliminate a part of their children’s legitimate fears. For such matter, it is quite useful to come up with a creative way to have children participate in their own care. By having them feel more in control they provide them with a sheer array of opportunities.
Strive To Be Clear About Food Restrictions From The Very Beginning
Many children are forced to make drastic changes in their nutrition, and many just refuse to easily accept them. Kids are not used to the word «diet»; however, by developing a creative way to explain to them that they must adapt to a new nutritional plan, the likelihood of them accepting these changes is far higher than in the vast majority of adults. Have children make a list of their favorite foods and they assess it with a dietitian to determine whether they can be included in the new plan. Be that as it may, avoid forcing children to unquestionably accept these changes: this tactic rarely pays off.
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