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Liaison Psychiatry in a Paediatric Oncology Clinic: A decade of experience and change

  • Jacqueline Jones (a1)
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Families who have a child with a life-threatening disease need support during the illness and in the bereavement phase. Although few would disagree, the means to provide such a network is not easy. During 10 years working in an oncology clinic, I have become aware of the importance of close liaison links within the clinic itself and in the community. By the nature of life-threatening and terminal illness, staff members need opportunities to discuss their feelings towards their patients if such extremes as patient avoidance or identification are to be prevented. Once a close team spirit exists, the likelihood of an individual becoming over-stressed diminishes. Although all team personnel are potentially at risk, I would suggest that those at greatest risk are at opposite ends of the hierarchy, i.e. the consultant constantly faced with challenging medical decisions and involvement with emotionally drained parents and the junior nurses, seen as ‘safe’ people on whom to unburden. The latter spend more time with the families and have no legitimate mode of escape!

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Peck, B. (1979) Effects of childhood cancer on long-term survivors and their families. British Medical Journal, i, 13271329.
2 Black, D. (1987) Family intervention and bereaved children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28, 467474.
3 Lansdowne, S. (1980) More than Sympathy. London: Tavistock.
4 Mother Frances Dominica (1987) Reflections on death in childhood. British Medical Journal, 294, 108110.
5 Lansdowne, R. & Benjamin, G. (1985) The development of the concept of death in children 5–9 years. Child Care Health and Education, II, 1320.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0140-0789
  • EISSN: 2514-9954
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Liaison Psychiatry in a Paediatric Oncology Clinic: A decade of experience and change

  • Jacqueline Jones (a1)
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