About the session
Parents would do anything to protect their children from distress, but in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, children are inevitably exposed to large amounts of information about the virus and heightened levels of stress and anxiety in the adults around them. Previous studies across the globe have highlighted the importance of communication with children and families, and the impact that telling, or not telling, has on both the patient and their family. Effective communication has been associated with better psychological outcomes, as well as improved treatment adherence and disease progression. The delivery of high quality healthcare must therefore ensure communication with families is prioritised.
However, communication about such sensitive and distressing topics are emotionally challenging, not only for children and parents, but also the healthcare professionals who undertake this important task. Drs Louise Dalton and Elizabeth Rapa will discuss their work on the importance of effective communication with children and ways to ensure the needs of children are not overlooked. They will include an overview of their platform of practical communication resources and guides for healthcare professionals and families.
About the presenters
Dr Louise Dalton is a consultant clinical psychologist with over 20 years NHS experience and Dr Elizabeth Rapa is a senior postdoctoral researcher. Under the leadership of Professor Alan Stein, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry group at the University of Oxford focusses on elucidating the key mechanisms underpinning child development including the intergenerational transmission of difficulties in the context of adversity.
One of the team’s main areas of research focusses on the way children are told about the diagnosis of their own or a parent's, life threatening condition. In response to the current pandemic, the team have developed a platform of resources to support healthcare workers and caregivers www.psych.ox.ac.uk/research/covid_comms_support with the unenviable task of telling relatives and children of an adult’s death
Watch the recording below: