Supporting siblings of terminally ill children

Nov 7, 2011

Supporting siblings of terminally ill children

Anthony was admitted to hospital urgently, needing brain scans and a number of emergency operations to remove part of a brain tumor.  This operation did not go as well as the medics wanted and he spent 5 weeks in hospital in a serious condition undergoing different operations on his brain.

During this time his 8 year old sister, Carolyn, stayed with her grandparents. Carolyn had become extremely withdrawn during this time. She was grieving – her mother, father and brother had left her for 5 weeks, she hardly saw them and this left her feeling isolated and worried. Do they love me? Am I important? Why don’t they come and get me?

Once Anthony was home, he was the centre of attention and had all of his relatives rallying round him and buying him new toys. Mum and dad needed to talk about what had happened and Carolyn noted and heard everything that was said. She didn’t feel important anymore. Even in the school playground, her friends, their mums, and her teachers all talked to her about Anthony.

Mum spoke to a social worker about her concerns for Carolyn. She recognised what had happened and that Carolyn needed some support. The Social Worker referred her to Rainbow Trust and a Family Support Worker came to visit the house to see Carolyn, not Anthony, nor her mum or dad.

Carolyn enjoys doing art and craft activities and is happy if Anthony joins in but knows that Carla is there for her. Carolyn also enjoys going out to the park playing games and sometimes Carla picks her up from school and they go out for their tea. Carolyn is beginning to settle down, she will talk to Carla about some of the events that have taken place but often just likes to talk about general things.

Anthony’s parents have recently been told that the tumor is continuing to grow and the medics are unsure what they can do. Carolyn sees Carla on a regular basis, who continues to work with her and support her throughout the period that she needs that special someone just for her.



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Project Leader

Dave Pearson

Leatherhead, Surrey United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Supporting siblings of terminally ill children