By Becca Owens
Raising children always comes with unforeseen joys and trials — it’s a role that innately bears both challenges and triumphs. When a child is diagnosed with a chronic disease or an illness that lasts for three months or more, it can feel overwhelming.1 However, for many families, living well within the chronic illness can be a source of success and triumph in spite of the obvious challenges.
The good news is that you are not alone. Relying on loved ones like friends and family to provide encouragement and help around the house can relieve burdens and lift your spirits. Also, for many diagnoses, there are now parent communities online to share stories, give and receive helpful tips and enjoy camaraderie with others who are fighting the same struggles as you.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
After the initial shock of a new diagnosis wears off, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed with your new normal — regular doctor visits, dietary restrictions, mobility limitations and medication schedules. All of these adjustments, in addition to the emotional and relational changes at home, can make you feel like you’re behind before you’ve even begun your journey. Developing a strategy to stay organized and prepared for what’s next can help you feel in control and free to love on your child without worrying about his illness.
Help for Keeping Up With Your Child’s Medicine
A new diagnosis or doctor’s visit often means a new regular medication for your son or daughter. The following are some tips for how to effectively manage multiple medications for your child:
- Use only one pharmacy. By keeping all prescriptions in one place, it’s much easier to stay on top of your child’s pharmaceutical treatment. The pharmacy can watch out for any interactions you may be unaware of, stay on top of needed refills and even build relationships with your child’s doctors to better understand their needs.
- Update your medication list regularly. Every doctor’s office will want an updated medication list at each visit. It is also helpful for you and any other care providers to have a complete list of all medications (along with their strengths and prescribed dosing schedules) on hand so you don’t get confused in handling different medications.
- Develop a system. If your child is able to swallow pills and her medications are in pill form, keeping medicine in a daily dispenser can help. For children who are not able to swallow pills or may have other forms of medicine like inhalers or injections, it’s important to find a system that works for you. A designated cabinet or basket based on medication needs can keep you from scrambling or missing a dose. Planning ahead for midday doses during outings or overnight trips will also help you stay in control.
- Set reminders. Many pharmacies have reminder systems, like text messages, emails or phone calls, already in place to help you remember to fill prescriptions, and many prescriptions allow you to refill a few days before the current prescription runs out. It’s important to take advantage of these systems or set your own reminders in a phone or paper calendar so you don’t run the risk of missing a prescription because a pharmacy is closed.2
Keep a Positive Mindset
Your child’s sickness can deeply affect your mood and outlook on life. It’s important for your own health to have a safe place to grieve the changes in your family. A trusted friend or another parent dealing with a similar struggle can be a great confidant for you on the hard days. It’s also crucial to be proactive in practicing self-care. Some ideas for healthy self-care include the following:
- Schedule time away. A regular lunch with a life-giving friend or date night with your spouse or partner can do wonders for your mental health.
- Find a trusted sitter. Reliable respite care helps you remember that others can care well for your child and allows you the freedom to get away from time to time.
- Reduce stress. Taking time for a long walk, scheduling a massage or reading a book in a bubble bath can help you destress from focusing all of your attention on your child.
You may find that the tedious details like medicine schedules become less stressful and more routine as you use these strategies to become more relaxed and encouraged.
Help for Chronic Illness
If you have a child fighting a chronic illness, we can provide support information for you. Please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today to let us ease your mind and help you start caring for your child with as little stress as possible.
1 “Medical Definition of Chronic Disease.” MedicineNet.com, May 13, 2016.
2 “Help for Managing Multiple Medications.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Accessed January 28, 2018.