Tracey Brand, Social Worker and co-founder of Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children in Durban, South Africa, has written an interesting article for the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) looking at the different ways in which children communicate and how to effectively communicate with children who have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
Brand explains that to achieve effective communication, one must communicate at a level that is equivalent to the child’s understanding.
Children communicate using body language, spoken language and play language, and in order to communicate effectively the healthcare providers need to be fluent in all three.
The various barriers to communicating with children are raised. Brand emphasizes “being sincere when interacting with the child goes a very long way towards breaking down barriers.”
Communicating with children about their illness is crucial, fortunately it does not have to be as overwhelming as we imagine. The article outlines a few guidelines concerning talking to children.
Children have the right to know and be included in the details of their illness; the intimidating task ultimately lies in the hands of the healthcare provider. Click here to read the full article about communicating with children at this level.