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Young patients face unique challenges during an illness and its treatment. Chronic childhood illness can be extremely disruptive for the child or adolescent and his or her family, especially when treatment demands frequent and lengthy hospitalizations. The illness, as well as a lack of normalcy in the patient’s life, may hinder biological, psychological, and social development. The primary role of medical social workers working with children or adolescents is to help the patient and family live as normal a life as possible in the face of illness.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Think about chronic illnesses that may affect children and adolescents. Select one chronic illness and consider how it impacts the patient and the family. How might the illness affect the child’s growth and development?

Post a brief description of the illness and its overall impact on the well-being of a young patient and his or her family. Explain how the illness may disrupt or influence the biological, psychological, and social growth and development of the child or adolescent. Identify at least three primary stressors (e.g., complications, hospitalization) related to the illness. Select one of the stressors that you think is critical. Justify your selection. Analyze possible pediatric social work interventions that might be applied to address the stressor.

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