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You may be a close relative of a child who has recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, or you may be a friend or neighbour.  You may be aware that parents of a child in your community or school have been told their child has this diagnosis.  Chances are you may be affected in some way and may be sharing some of the emotions and feelings the parents and carers are struggling with.

Here are some of the feelings parents and carers may experience:

  • Isolation
  • Bewildered
  • Confused
  • Unable to stop worrying
  • Constant cyring
  • Wondering if you've done something to cause your child’s condition
  • Wondering if you could have prevented it
  • Feeling others are judging you

How can you help?

You may feel helpless and not be able to think about how you can offer support.  In fact there are lots of ways family friends and neighbours can offer practical and emotional support as repeated visits to hospital are difficult. 

You could offer to:

  • Send them an email or text to let them know you're thinking of them
  • Offer to visit the child in hospital (check with parents if this is ok first of all)
  • Offer to take or pick up other children to/from school or activities
  • Do some cleaning, ironing, shopping or gardening for them
  • Be at the home when the shopping is delivered
  • Look after any pets
  • Offer to take the other children home for tea or to have them stay over with you
  • Take the other children out – they also may need a break and will enjoy having some fun time to distract them
  • Make a meal or bake a cake for the family.  Leave it in their fridge for when they get home or give it to them to take to make their hospital stay easier.

It can be difficult being at the hospital and it may be best when your relative or friend comes home not to bombard them with questions and to give them some space.

Be sensitive to body language: they may want to talk another time so you could offer to call round again or arrange to meet up for a coffee somewhere.

Maybe you could offer to babysit in future while parents take some much needed time out together.