Caring for a Sick Child in Tayside Project 2006-07
Assessing the impacts on families when they have a sick child in the home was the aim of this one year project funded by the Gannochy Trust. The project also sought to find out if there is a different impact on families depending upon whether they lived in an urban or rural area. 54 families took part in the survey.
Several interesting facts emerged, including the problem of dealing with incontinence waste and fortnightly bin collections. Disability Living Allowance claims, effects on siblings and time off work are major issues for parents. Some families faced huge expense having their homes adapted to accommodate the needs of their child. In some cases costs could have been recovered, but families did not know how to pursue claims or did not know that they could do so. Attitudes of employers toward time off for parents caring for a sick child varied considerably and this seemed to have little to do with the size of the organisation.
The education of a sick child was of concern, particularly of secondary school children. Securing support for a primary school child from one teacher was more straight-forward than for an older child when different teachers are involved. Families were often confused by how to obtain additional support and whether their child was entitled to it.
Young people spoke of their anxiety at ‘falling behind’ at school due to sporadic absences and the possibility of having to repeat a year. Parents were largely unaware of their rights and who and how to ask for help.
Better communication is needed to make families aware of their rights and sources of help and support, whether that is financial, practical or emotional. Action for Sick Children (Scotland) hopes that the publication and dissemination of our Report will go some way to address these needs.
Since the publication of the report, Dundee City Council has included the Home and Hospital Teaching Service Publication on their website.
Click to download the Report.