Helping a Child Live with a Chronic Medical Condition
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of school-aged children and adolescents live with at least one chronic medical condition. This is not only life-altering for the child but for their caretakers as well, because chronic conditions can require a great deal of care and monitoring. The added responsibility can feel overwhelming, so what is a parent or caretaker to do when the stress ensues?
First, take a deep breath. You are not alone, and learning your child has a chronic medical condition can come as a huge shock at first. Thankfully, there is help and support readily available, including MedicAlert and our life-saving medical ID and emergency response services.
MedicAlert IDs and protection plans can be the safety net that allows kids with chronic medical conditions and their caregivers to experience a freedom and peace of mind they never thought possible. By storing and conveying your child’s critical medical and contact information, MedicAlert ensures that they will receive fast, effective care during any emergency situation.
How do I support my child living with a chronic medical condition?
Supporting your child with a chronic medical condition starts with understanding what is going on and what you should expect to encounter. Being a step ahead is key and can provide a sense of comfort as you plan for the future. There are many organizations that can help you gain the necessary knowledge and find supportive communities to facilitate this process.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers an entire website dedicated to equipping parents and caregivers with information to effectively support and care for your child. They cover various ages and stages as well as a long list of health-related issues that your child might encounter.
MedicAlert partners with leading patient organizations that are also available for you to learn about your child’s condition and find support in community. We are proud to support organizations like, AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), Epilepsy Foundation, and KFA (Kids with Food Allergies), in fostering awareness, support, and education.
- Cincinnati Children’s is a leading medical center with a mission to improve children’s overall health. They offer multiple online resources for support groups, and the best part is that you can access them from wherever you are.
- Spend time with your child. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a 2006 study revealed that among adolescents, a lack of time spent with parents created a barrier to being compliant to their care plan.
- Find volunteer activities that help connect them to their condition and help others living with chronic conditions. You can inquire with your child’s school about any available initiatives, or you can take this opportunity to create one that fills a need.
According to the Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC), to help your child cope and manage stress, encourage him or her to express their feelings. Sadness, fear, frustration and rage are common and shouldn’t be bottled up. Provide age-appropriate information about upcoming doctor appointments or procedures, and have your child visit other children with similar conditions or treatments.
There are many Facebook communities geared toward providing a nonjudgmental and supportive space for parents to seek out help and advice. Finding the right support group can make all of the difference in your experience and the child’s experience living with a medical condition.
As with any medical condition, seeking the professional help of a doctor or a social worker is also an important step in gaining an understanding of how to manage chronic illnesses, disabilities, and how to navigate lifestyle changes and challenges.
MedicAlert can provide a unique form of support and protection with the use of our life-saving medical ID bracelets, paired with our Protection Plans that cater to your specific needs. Empower your child to select a medical ID so that they know that if an emergency arises, we are there to help.
Sources: Cincinnati Children’s, CHOC
How does my child manage their chronic illness at school?
It can be challenging, as the parent or caregiver, to find peace of mind as your child enters school. What if an emergency arises? How will the staff know how to care for them? Here are helpful steps that you can take:
- Contact your pediatrician as they play a vital role in beginning early intervention, education, and helping your child develop self-management skills.
- Early Intervention: According to the CDC, early intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills and overcome challenges, and can increase success in school and life when learning challenges are present at a young age.
- Know what your child is entitled to: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, public school systems must make special services available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Here is more information, provided by AAP, on what special education entails and what practical steps can be taken to ensure your child has resources to succeed in the classroom.
- Schedule a meeting to alert the appropriate staff of the child’s condition and needs, such as the school nurse, school psychologist, social worker, or daycare staff. The next step is to then develop a daily care plan, together.
- Empower your child to be their own advocate (if their age allows it). This will help them transition into a school setting and better understand themselves as an autonomous individual living with a medical condition. AAP provides practical ways to facilitate this process and manage some unavoidable stresses that can occur.
- Get protected and connected with a MedicAlert ID to be one step ahead and ensure that your child’s medical needs are known, documented, and accessible in the event of an emergency, whether in or out of the classroom.
How do I protect my child in an emergency or national disaster?
Emergencies can happen and a family’s preparedness, ability to cope and manage an emergent situation is often more challenging than the issue itself. It’s for this reason that disaster planning should also be discussed with a pediatrician. According to AAP, research shows that families who talked with their child’s pediatrician about emergency preparedness were more likely to take action to prepare for a disaster.
Families should develop a written preparedness plan and consider preparing a disaster supply kit. Both actions can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that life-saving supplies are accessible. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides recommendations for what your kit should consist of, as well as practical ways to plan, stay informed, and get involved.
MedicAlert can be part of the response plan for moments of urgency and disaster with our 24/7 support and our life-saving medical IDs. We are dedicated to ensuring that our members’ medical needs are voiced, no matter what happens. Our silicone Medical ID bracelets are an excellent addition to your emergency preparedness plan; they are durable, secure and able to be engraved with all of your child’s essential information. For the most coverage, check out the advantage plus protection plan or take a look at all of MedicAlert’s Protection Plan options and choose what best fits you and your family. Providing peace of mind and a sense of security to our members is what we are here for.
What type of MedicAlert ID should I get for my child?
Choosing the right MedicAlert ID is an empowering and personal experience for the user, especially for your child. Allow them to browse our products and enjoy finding what best fits who they are. From necklaces, bracelets, shoe accessories, and durable bands for sports, to our smart medical ID cards that fit right into your wallet, we have something that will fit any age, lifestyle and fashion sense.
MedicAlert IDs are made of a wide variety of materials to accommodate any lifestyle or occasion. We use safe materials, such as gold, which is especially helpful for those who have skin sensitivities. The stainless steel, gold, and sterling silver IDs are not only durable, they are styled like fine jewelry and fit in at any special occasion that your child might have, such as a school dance or a family wedding. Our Classic Embossed gold necklace or the Santa Rosa sterling silver bracelet ID are potential options that look beautiful while assuring that your child is protected.
For anyone who is more active and plays sports, there are various silicone bracelets, sport bands, tags for Apple watches, and reflective bands that stay secure and are globally recognized. Likewise, if your child possesses a sensory challenge, or they prefer to not wear their ID as a bracelet or necklace, the shoe tag is a great alternative. The seatbelt ID holder can easily be placed onto a bike or a backpack as well. MedicAlert IDs offer options for a full range of children’s ages, needs, and preferences.
What should be engraved on a MedicAlert ID?
MedicAlert lets you add custom engravings on all of our medical ID products. Your child’s ID should include any critical medical information that is necessary to protect and save their life in an emergency, including:
- Medical Conditions
- Implanted devices
- Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
It isn’t easy living with a chronic medical condition as a child, and it certainly isn’t easy providing care and support for kids with special medical needs. MedicAlert can be part of that care and support, empowering kids to make choices and learn about their own needs and conditions, while allowing them and their caregivers to breathe easier with our protection.