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Warning sensitive subject ITU how can i help sister in laws children

Well this is a first for me to write anything on here although members of my family have in the past. I do not have asthma but have experienced the effects asthma has from the worse case scenario. I should really get to the point of my posting my sister in law who has been my rock has been writing on here sporadically, for a while, she has two lung conditions one of them asthma but not brittle asthma as my daughter suffered from. My sister in law spent much time over Christmas and New Year very ill with a chest infection that exacerbated her lung conditions requiring her to be ventilated for a few days. She is back in struggling and came of ventilator yesterday although doing well she was still poorly and went back on last night.

Well the main reason in my posting is to get anyone to help me help her children. i am concerned for her children and how to approach them as, as yet they are unable to visit her. They have experienced a lot recently for two boys so young, and although at school a counselor is seeing them as the boys have become very distractive and think the worse will happen as it did last year with my own child. I want to shield them from any more pain but i just do not get how to deal with them what to say and how to say it, this is such a hard situation to be in and brings back very painful memories for us as a family but has any one got any idea how as main carer for the boys at the moment can help them deal with this. Also help me find the right stuff to say to them. I and the boys have spoken to school teachers GP and the got help from ITU but the children seem to only want answers from me but i cannot do this i cannot get the right frame of mind to explain to them what is going on as this is so hard for me also i do not want to upset them more by becoming upset in front of them please any advice would be very welcome its like history repeating its self all over again.

I hope i have not been out of place posting something like this here.i just have no more avenues to go down and this place helped so much last year for my sister in law i thought may be some one can point me in the right direction.

Much thanks Dave

4 Replies

hi Dave,

What a difficult time for you all, it sounds as though you are providing a lot of support to your sister in law's children even though you are struggling yourself. I just wanted to say that I have a colleague (a child psychotherapist) who fairly regularly works with children who have parents on ITU. It's quite hard to offer advice in general terms so I am posting partly to support you and partly to ask if you mind if I ask her advice? I could then PM you?

I hope things are going better today.

Also, I was a bit curious that you said the children hadn't visited yet. In general what they fear and fantasise is much worse than any reality, so usually children do visit - however I'm sure that the ITU team are taking all this into consideration. It might be worth asking if there is anyone else in the hospital (often from ""paediatric liaison"" or ""child mental health"" or ""paediatric psychology"") who might be able to support the children, and support you to support the children. If you PM which hospital it is I might (maybe!) even know someone.

Do get in touch if you'd like to

with very warmest wishes



I can only suggest being honest taking into account their age and comprehension .. simplify and leave out the scarey stuff, children of all ages take on board much more than we realise, your lack of communication probably speaks volumes to them! Only My Opinion as a mum.. :)

Like the previous person I just wanted to post my support for you, and wish you and You're sister in law well



EJ thank you for your great reply, as you suggested i have been in contact with the children's services and have asked for the help of the team that helped us last year with our situation regarding my daughter. The boys have seen mum when she was in a similar state of health over the holiday period. Unfortunately it did not go well especially for James who has refused to see her at all. i can not force him to do so. we have access as a family to the family liaison team whom because of our history of my daughters death last year they have worked well but the boys are not responding they have told them about everything but i felt was not very child friendly espeically for boys so young. they realize that mum is ill but all they see and question me on is Hollyanna. I cannot lie to them and i have not i shall try again this morning to get hold of the children's services to get them to help as they helped so much. I find it extremely hard to explain to them the difference with jaycie and my daughters situation as i find it hard to talk about that part of my life any how.i cannot go into every thing on here in regards to family matters as that is private . i have tried to pm you but am unable to do so.

Rachel unfortunately the children do understand to well what is going on although this is a rare thing to happed in regards to mum they have experienced my daughter in this situation a lot over the years and have a far to great an understanding of what can happen and understand the ""scary"" stuff that happens.

thank you both very much dave


EJ as i cannot PM you i thought i would thank you for your suggestions and also update you i got the help along with other things involves the help of children's services MHT who are helping the children with a lot of stuff and even are maintaining contact when jaycie is discharged hopefully next week.The boys are working through a lot of emotional stuff in regards to past trauma and the present they are great kids and i am sure things will get much better for them. I would have pm`d you with details but as i mentioned before i could not access that facility on your account.

many thanks again Dave


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