How To Help A Family with a Medically Fragile Child

**This post covers kids that are medically fragile- meaning severely ill, and/or have other illnesses or disabilities that make daily tasks for their parents/caregivers challenging. I hope I don’t leave anyone out.**

This post is written with two kids in mind- Gillian and Ryan. Their moms, Shelly and Kesha, are complete rock stars. (I know them from high school.)

Both girls have complex medical issues and have battled so much in their young lives. They have siblings that have had to adjust to their sisters’ illnesses.

I follow both of their Facebook pages for updates.

Support is a Gift

Most parents of kids with medical issues are very grateful for any support they receive. I’ve never seen anything but this from Shelly and Kesha. In fact, Ryan gives back to her community when she is able to and I think that is neat.

How can you support these families?

  • Offer to watch any siblings, and then take them to do something fun. Siblings can miss out on fun things in the middle of hospitalization. Many worry about things that they aren’t quite old enough to understand and going to do kid things for a while can help ease that.
  • Bring meals. Everyone has to eat, right? If the family is nearby, they may really appreciate not having to worry about cooking so much. If they are at a hospital far from home, gift cards can be a huge help. It alleviates a financial worry plus what to eat. If you’re able, try to organize meals with other friends of the family.
  • Don’t shut the family out. The parents may be busy with their child’s appointments or other needs, but they still need adult time. They need interaction that doesn’t revolve around their child. Keep them up to date on events around them.
  • Bring fun things for the child in the hospital or at home. It is not fun at all to be hospitalized or at home for an extended period of time. Kesha has an Amazon list for Gillian because so many people asked what she wants or needs during her extended hospitalization. These things help pass the time and keep the child entertained. They can even bring a bit of happiness.
  • Just be there. This can be invaluable. Sometimes the parents just need someone to vent or cry to. Ask the parents how they are doing.

This is not a complete list of everything you can do- there are many other ways you can be helpful. The ideas I listed are just a starting point.

All parents need support, whether their child is well or not. We’re in this together, right?

Do you have ideas to add to the list? Please leave them in the comments. Have you had a friend help your family or have you helped a family while a child was hospitalized?

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