Saturday 22 July 2017

Terminally ill children should be asked about 'bucket list'

Children and young people who are dying should be asked if they have a 'bucket list' of wishes they want to accomplish, health officials have said. (Stock photo)
Children and young people who are dying should be asked if they have a 'bucket list' of wishes they want to accomplish, health officials have said. (Stock photo)

Laura Donnelly

Children and young people who are dying should be asked if they have a 'bucket list' of wishes they want to accomplish, health officials have said.

Medics or care workers developing care plans for terminally-ill children should ask about their "life ambitions and wishes", according to guidance from the British National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

Watchdogs said it might be appropriate to ask youngsters what they want to be done with their social media accounts after their deaths.

Young people or their families should be asked about what they hope to achieve in life, including ambitions for social activities, relationships and educational attainment, the guideline suggests.

Dying teenagers might want to complete their GCSEs or make specific wishes on who should be given their personal belongings, according to Dr Emily Harrop, a paediatric palliative care consultant who helped to develop the guideline.

The child or a parent, depending on the child's age, should also be asked about life ambitions, she said.

"When we start a conversation about end-of-life planning, rather than introduce that with a very closed question or a very negative question, we often start by asking for things like 'What do you hope for? What do you aspire to do for yourself? What would you hope your child to achieve?'," Dr Harrop said.

"To lose a child is a tragic, life-changing event. But the care given to a child and their family during this difficult time can offer great comfort, if done properly.

"It is incredible what you get back actually. It's rarely as simple as you'd think.

"It is always very, very individual.

"On one level, it opens a conversation you need to have and on the next level, it promotes you to think about them as an individual, not just as a person whose medical or social care you are delivering." (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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