Communicating with children about life-threatening conditions

June 18, 2019
Organization: The Lancet

This two-paper Series summarizes the available evidence on communication with children about their own life-threatening disease and about a life-threatening disease in a parent. The effects on emotional, behavioral, and social outcomes, illness-related factors, and barriers and challenges to communication are summarized. Children’s developmental stages of understanding illness and death are highlighted as important background knowledge to give age-appropriate information. The authors conclude that such communication is beneficial but that there are currently no evidence-based guidelines. To bridge this gap, they provide principles and practical examples to help health-care professionals in their communications with children and adolescents and in giving advice to parents about communication in these difficult circumstances.’