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The global prevalence of life threatening conditions in children and parents makes it an urgent priority to develop child-focused communication guidelines for healthcare professionals to support families in their time of need.

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Two new papers published in The Lancet, led by a team at the University of Oxford, highlight the importance of communicating with families about life threatening conditions in ways that can make a real difference to the traumatic circumstances in which families find themselves. 

Professor Alan Stein, senior author and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, University of Oxford, said: 'This important Lancet series offers principles to guide conversations between health professionals, children and their parents about life threatening illness. There are huge time pressures on healthcare professionals and concerns about how to get it right for families.'

One of the most daunting challenges that parents and healthcare professionals face is to tell a child that they or their parent has as a life threatening diagnosis. Parents would do almost anything to shield their child from distress, yet sometimes this can’t be avoided. Evidence shows that talking with children about illness helps with family relationships and wellbeing.

Read more (University of Oxford website)