We have known her for many years and she knew her diagnosis. However, she was scared that others would find out that she had HIV and would treat her differently. After the death of her mother she was forced to move to a community that she did not know. She had a lot of questions about her father, but he was not available to her. For a while we, at hospice, could not find her after she moved and could not support her during this difficult time. I do believe with more support from her family, the community and our staff she would maybe be alive. But I suppose, it was her choice not to live. The only person she allowed in her life was our social worker; they had developed a special relationship. Her life was shortened through circumstances, some beyond our control and others not.
‘The greatest need of children is to have a good support system. Children generally have poor medication adherence and do not regularly attend appointments. They also have problems with hygiene; both because of their poor home circumstances and poor hygienic practices.
I believe that if children take their medication regularly they will and do develop normally and you would not be able to recognize the sick children amongst the others. A big reason for children not taking medication is because they don’t know why they have to take medication. Often parents prevent children from knowing their diagnosis because of a combination of not knowing how to tell them, being scared of the reaction they may get or because they do not want to face the implications of their child having a life-threatening illness.
Children are very important to me. Each child needs a plan and children need to be part of the plan. We need a team to work with children and creating this new team, I know we will make a difference. We will be able to better monitor the children. It is really important to form good relationships with the parents even if it means visiting after hours.The team approach needs to include our staff, the family and the DOH. Not only the children but also the household needs to be supported and educated via on-going counseling and health promotion.
I have had a passion for working with adult patients but since I started to work with children and did the childcare worker course, I realized that I can make a difference in the lives of our children. As a care worker you need to constantly be a voice for the children and speak out about their needs. We need to work together. You also need to have the heart for working with children and you must actively ‘do’.
Susan Solomons a caregiver who is passionate about working with children. Currently DPH is looking after 82 sick children.