How to help a friend with a sick child

Be the solid source of support an overwhelmed pal can count on by following these suggestions…

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A family’s daily routines can come to a screeching halt when they are nursing a sick child whose path to recovery involves a lengthy hospital stay. All the stress and pressures of caring for an ailing child can take a toll on any parent’s physical, mental and financial well-being.

Quite often, it’s the strong support of family and friends that will help couples get through these tough times. Yet, many people are too embarrassed to ask for help, or are afraid that they might be imposing on others. And close friends or family — on the other hand — may not know how to offer assistance to their friend in their time of need. Depending on how close you are to the parent, here are some practical suggestions on how you can help…

Many people are too embarrassed to ask for help, or are afraid that they might be imposing on others.

1. Don’t say, “Let me know if you need any help…” Take the initiative and think about what sort of help your friend may need and whether you can provide that kind of assistance. Remember, your friend might be too swamped or embarrassed to inconvenience you with their requests. Also, don’t offer help you can’t maintain over a period of time, especially as your friend’s child may need to be hospitalised.

2. Ask before popping by Always ask if it’s a good time to drop by for a visit. When you do, keep your visit short. Don’t expect to be entertained, either ― be the one who initiates conversation.

3. Research and share what you’ve learnt Whenever your friend gives you an update about her child’s condition, try to do your own research before asking questions. Better yet, use what you’ve found out to offer possible questions or leads they should ask their doctor to look into.

4. Set up a private chat group for updates Your friend will likely be inundated with phone calls and messages asking for updates. So, if you share the same mutual friends, it might help if you take the initiative to set up a private chat group, so everyone is updated at the same time.

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