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Child With Cancer


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Hi there,

 

One of our children was diagnosed with cancer over the summer break. Forgive me if I don't go into too many details for confidentiality, just in case anyone on here knows my setting. Anyway, the child's not currently managing to attend much due to the nature of the treatment & the timing of the appointments. We are due a visit from the special nurse who will show us how to manage the line which apparently has a plaster over it.

 

This is a first for the group and one I hope doesn't occur again. Aside from the usual need for careful risk assessment, check with insurers etc I just wondered if anyone had any advice/guidance? I don't even really know what I'm asking for. We expect attendance to be intermittent as there will be periods of intensive treatment. I just want us to do our best by the child and the family. So your thoughts and insight would be really appreciated!

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Really sorry Weightman no words of advice from me right now but just couldn't read and run.

 

I can't imagine how you must feel but wanted to send you positive vibes and a virtual hug.

 

Off the top of my head I think flexibility might be the key, working with the family and letting the child attend as and when they can whether it's full or part sessions or even just popping in now and again . I guess you can only 'plan' so much and much of it may just be a case of going with the flow so to speak and mum/dad will need loads of support too. Gosh just re read that and it sounds like I am stating the obvious !

 

 

Really sorry this is such a rubbish reply and I will have a think when I am a bit more awake.

 

Of course it goes without saying you will get unceasing support here :o

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No experience to offer. Just to say that from the point of view of supporting the child's emotional needs, your setting could be place for normality, where the child can be themselves as much as possible. Hope someone will be along soon to offer you support at this difficult time.

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I was wondering about finding ways of taking the pre-school to the child whilst they are unable to attend regularly. Getting the children to write letters and send photos to their friend and talking about what they're doing might help her/him to feel included and not quite so 'out of the loop' when s/he does attend.

 

I'm not sure what your numbers/ratios are like, but I think Geraldine's point about flexibility of attendance is a good one. There may be days when this child feels well enough to come in even for a short while and if there were arrangements in place so that this could happen whether or not they normally attend on that day, this would help keep the child's feelings about the setting positive.

 

It may be that your setting is the only place where the child will feel they are safe from the attentions of the grown ups who do nasty things to them which hurt, so maintaining your relationship with the child during their treatment might provide a bit of a haven for them. And this will also enable you to support the parents during this really difficult time for them all.

 

Finally, remember that you and the members of your team will also need support - our relationships with the children we care for are so personal and intimate that an illness like this can be hard for the grown ups to deal with, so they may need to offload their feelings too. Staff may also need support in how they approach the family too - it is important to take their lead from the child and the parents. Often they don't want people to feel sorry for them or to view them with pity, they just want life to carry on as normally as possible so that they can have the strength to face what lies ahead.

 

Good luck - we'll all be here to support you too when you need it. Life is very cruel sometimes isn't it?

 

Maz

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Hi, I have been through this with a little girl at my setting.....all I can say is that we were understanding in the need for flexibility for appointments and maybe just not coming into nursery because she wasnt up to it. Mum was very anxious when she came into nursery which is very understandable so we were very reassuring.....communication is a key here, talk to everyone involved and dont be scared to ask questions!

 

The nurse visited us first and she was helpful, I was given this letter to copy and send to all the parents letting them know that we had a child in the setting with.........and if they had in particular chickenpox or been in contact with anyone with chickenpox could they let the nursery know immediately. Parents were very good and the children carried on as normal.

Mums request was that if a child asked 'whats the matter with.......she has no hair' we were to tell them about her not being well and having to go to hospital quite a lot'

 

Hope this helps x

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We have had a little boy with us who had had 5 ops on a brain tumour.

 

We just went with the flow really.

 

Asked about appointments, treatments etc and asked if there was anything we needed to do when he was us/ anything to look out for.

 

We kept in touch when he had long stays in hospital.... sent gifts and cards from friends in nursery

 

We had to let Mum know of any illness in nursery because the treatment made him susceptible to illness. When he had a suspected case of swine flu for instance he was pulled from the setting for his health.

 

We just tried to offer Mum an ear and offered her support.

 

I am sure that you will do what is right because I expect you are a parent too and can imagine (to a degree) how awful this is for them and the family.

 

Good luck x

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Agree with all of the above and if the child does feel able to come in, just bear in mind that s/he might feel very tired, very quickly.Also s/he might feel tearful for all sorts of reasons, sometimes, the chemo just does that all on its own! The infection risk is important, but I imagine the child probably won't come in for the week after each course, as that's when the risk is highest.The week prior to each chemo is most likely to be when the child will feel best. I think the flexibility aspect is hugely important................and the idea of sending photos, pictures etc is a really good one.Presents don't matter so much, maybe one small thing, but don't overdo it?Do mum and dad need any extra support...this must be shattering for them, so do they have babysitters so they can have a bit of time out if they need it.....and someone to talk to at your setting, if things get too much? Good luck.and here's to a quick return to good health for the child concerned xx

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I had a childminded child who was in hospital for a long time and I took some activities in to hospital.

 

We did face painting, cutting out, glueing, playdough, it was nearly Christmas so loads of glitter. The staff were fantastic and just changed the bed if we got it messy.

 

It gave the child a boost and the parents a break. They felt that they couldn't leave her with nurses who she didn't know well but they knew she was happy with me. That meant that they could go and look after themselves for a short while.

 

It may not be so appropriate if the child feels very ill from the treatment or for infection control reasons but it's worth trying to find the time to pop in if the doctors are happy with it.

 

Just try to keep in touch so they know they are in everyone's thoughts.

 

I hope it turns out well in the end.

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Thank you for all your kind words etc. Child came in today with sibling for the photographer - only the second time in this term. Seems quite well at the minute. Flexibility is clearly going to be really important. Our morning were pretty full in September but where things have changed slightly we haven't rushed to fill the session with the needs of this child in mind.

 

What I've found surprising has been the attitude of some of the health professionals. We may be able to get additional funding to enhance staffing, but not without a letter from one of them stating the diagnosis. Parents have made repeated requests but no joy yet. I suppose because of our awareness of the emotional side of these things I thought that the caring professions would display empathy but in fact they appear very brusque. I guess if you're dealing with these kind of issues all the time you have to be matter of fact but it was quite a shock - the parents unfortunately have said the same thing. Still the good news is that the child seems to be doing well at the minute.

 

If anyone else is in this position, it's quite a fast learning curve. If we see any blood it would be an immediate call home & most likely a 999 Ambulance call. No medication to administer but letting parents know of the illnesses that are going round, chickenpox being an important one, also measles - apparently there's some medication or innoculation they can be given if the medical people know in time. the other thing, I think, will be minimising any lifting because there's a danger of knocking his line/s.

 

I think we'll have to go with home visits rather than hospital as the hospital is 50 miles away! There's no long-term in-patient treatment at the minute anyway. Narnia I think you were spot on about when health would be better etc. There are courses of steroids to take into account, too, with their own side-effects. We are quite fortunate in that one of the staff is an experienced paediatric nurse so that helps.

 

Thanks for letting me think aloud on here! I just ao much want to get it right.

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Hello

 

I also wanted to add my good wishes to the little boy, his family and all of you working with him. They are lucky to have people around who care so much! Let's hope and pray that all will be well. I had a very steep learning curve earlier this year with a bereaved child at my setting. Great support and really helpful advice made it easier to deal with. It really made a difference to know this brilliant forum was there in the background.

 

Lesley :o

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I cared for a child who was undergoing treatment for cancer. At times the treatment made him feel so poorly he was removed from school and his parents decided to home educate him. I worked as a volunteer for year, caring for him in his room to give his parents a break - sometimes he couldn't even cope with a story or a song, i hope the company gave him some comfort.

I was just wondering whether any of your staff could spare some time providing a bit of respite at home if the family needed it.

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Yes that's a good thought. Child's from quite a large family. At the moment not responding too well to none-family members I think - understandable - but hopefully that will change. Some of our families have offered support such as collecting siblings from school.

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Whatever you are doing to make life "normal" is going to be brilliant for the child and his family - lets hope the outcome is positive. What fabulous families you have on board offering support.

 

Just in case numbers become an issue I have found Ofsted to be quite sympathetic when I have needed to increase registration numbers to accomodate one extra where there are, for want of a better expression, extenuating circumstances.

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