Healthcare Communications Concerning Children With Brain Tumors Term Paper

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Healthcare Communications Concerning Children With Brain Tumors

Today, several young children are diagnosed with brain tumors of various kinds, and the news can be devastating for the child and for his parents too. It may be difficult for the parents of a young child to understand what has happened, and why their child has been affected with such a disease. They may become overwhelmed by what has happened, and at this stage, it is important that they form a good and stable relationship with the health care professional who has been assigned to take care of their child, and to communicate well with them. This would help the parents to analyze the various treatment options available to them, the advantages and the disadvantages of each treatment, and what treatment would best benefit their child. This would also help them make up their minds about the treatment, and the best and most suitable therapy for their child, so that he would be able to make a full recovery, and go on to live a long and productive life. There are immense advantages when effective communication of a health care professional takes place with a child diagnosed with brain tumor and his parents.

Discussion:

It is unfortunate indeed that several children are being affected with brain tumors. Tumors in children occur from developing young cells, and for every normal cell type, a corresponding tumor can arise. A child may develop a brain tumor such as the PNET, the medulloblastoma, the embryonic tumor, and various other tumors of the developing brainstem, hypothalamus and the optic nerves. Since it is a fact that the news that one's child has developed a brain tumor can be extremely shocking and traumatic for everyone concerned it is a good idea for both parents and children to ask as many questions as possible on the subject, so that there is effective and proper communication between the patient, his family and the attending physicians. The more questions one raises, the more knowledge one may gain about the tumor and how to help the patient, and this knowledge would help parents find the right path on which to guide their child through this traumatic experience and through his recovery. More importantly, the parent would gain the understanding that the scary sounding tumor is curable and can therefore be cured. (Brain tumors in children)

Statistics show that brain tumors are the most commonly occurring solid tumors of childhood, and that about 1,500 to 2,000 malignancies occur every year in children in the United States of America. However, one must remember that the prognosis for a child diagnosed with brain tumor is infinitely better than that of an adult, although it is a fact that most brain tumors in children are either diagnosed wrong, or too late for any proper treatment to be taken. (Hay, 898) in cases of malignant brain tumors in children of a very young age, chemotherapy is one option that is used successfully, although in certain cases, radiation is also used. (Miller; Walsh; Hoyt, 1400) it is also true that through the last decade especially, the prognosis for a child diagnosed with any form of brain tumor has improved, and the five-year survival rates today stand at a 70% (Bhat; Goodwin, 5495)

As mentioned earlier, communication for a child with a brain tumor is very important. Effective communication with the health care professional and other caregivers would ensure that the child receives a suitable education, and also that his basic intelligence, achievement, and behavioral skills would be tested and compared until his treatment is complete, so that all his rights as an individual are also protected for him. This is because of the common phenomenon that parents of children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses such as a brain tumor resort to: they simply pull their child out of school, and try to integrate him into the mainstream later. This is something that the child cannot cope with, and he feels extreme stress and pressure as a result, and when this is combined with the after effects of the drugs he has been taking as a part of his treatment this can create adverse side effects for the child. (the Importance of Special Education)

Most parents are advised at the beginning of the treatment that their child may suffer from behavioral problems at a later age, and this communication may help the child cope with such social and adjustment problems and difficulties when they occur. This is another reason why effective communication between healthcare professionals and the patient and his family is extremely important indeed. This would mean that parents would be able to understand what factors actually impact the behavior of their child, and it would help to discuss these and other similar problems with the professionals who have taken care of their child, and who are responsible for his welfare. These professionals would also help to teach parents to set realistic expectations for their children, especially in a case where the child is recovering form his illness and needs all the support he can get in order to adjust better and quicker, especially because it is a fact that at times, a child's behavior does not fit in with the rest of family life. (Behavior problems in children who have undergone treatment for brain tumors) professional would be able to help the parent to set certain simple rules to follow, which would work to change their child's specific behavior problems, in light of the fact that in more cases than not, the parents of a child who has been sick may feel averse to disciplining the child too harshly. Although it is the truth that when the sick child starts to behave better, his relationships improve, because he may also start to feel better about himself, and can adjust better to those around him, the solution lies in the effort that the parents put in, with the help and cooperation of the healthcare professionals, and the communication with them. (Behavior problems in children who have undergone treatment for brain tumors)

One must remember the important fact that in children with brain tumors, learning difficulties may be a real and serious problem. In tests conducted to study the extent of communication and learning difficulties, it was found that children with different types of tumors performed differently at their given tasks, although the findings showed that these children generally functioned within the average ranges, unless otherwise affected. (Molfese; Molfese, 232)

Another important fact is that when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness of this kind, then in all probability, the parent of the child would be subjected to a 'loss of hope'. Hope in this case can be conceptualized as a 'cognitive process comprised of a reciprocally derived sense of successful pathways'. Studies revealed the important fact that when the child had been diagnosed with a congenital disease; both the parent and the child reported a lower score for hope than the parents of children who had been not diagnosed with a chronic disease of any kind. The same study showed that the hope scores for a child were higher if their illness was congenital, and as far as parents were concerned, their hope scores were higher when the disease had been acquired. While children's hope scores could be predicted by self-efficacy and interaction and communication difficulties with their health care professionals and others involved in their care, parents' hope scores seemed to be predicted by self-efficacy as well as depression. What is important in these results is that health care professionals and clinicians can make use of the scores to communicate better with the child with a disease, and also with the parents of the child. This would immediately improve relations between them, and this would in turn naturally result in better treatment, and therefore, better prospects for the child, in this case, a child who has been diagnosed with brain tumor of any kind. (Venning; Eliott; Whitford; Honnor, 708)

It must be remembered that the traditional methods of the measurement of the outcome of a brain tumor in a child concentrates for the most part on the survival of the patient, and on his radiological response to therapy, if applicable to his tumor. However, these measurements tend to largely ignore the equally important issues that concern a patient, such as his quality of life, and to his biological endpoints of response. These issues can be especially important in a patient with brain tumor, because of the fact that effective therapies for the disease may not exist, and in the case of pediatric tumors, this may be true because of the significantly high long-term morbidity levels. Therefore, where there is better communication between the clinician and health care professional and the patient and his family, there can be better results. Not only would better communication make it possible to improve the techniques that are normally used to measure the quality of life, but it would also… [END OF PREVIEW]

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