What to say? What to do? Helping parents of cancer patients (VIDEOs)

February 19, 2014 | by Roberta Nichols

A friend’s child has been hospitalized for cancer treatment. You want to visit, but don’t know what to say. You want to help, but don’t know what to do. City of Hope has some advice.

In this video series, Jeanelle Folbrecht, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of psychology in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, explains what to say – and not say – to parents of young cancer patients; provides some do’s and don’ts when visiting a child in the hospital; and stresses the need to stay engaged with the family, even after treatment.

You won’t be erase the pain and turmoil that families are feeling, so don’t even try. And be careful about putting the experience into a religious framework – e.g., “There’s a purpose in this for you” – without knowing if the family is open to it.

Don’t overstay your welcome, and don’t complain about small problems in your life. Also, be sure to wash your hands.

Just because treatment is over doesn’t mean the family’s needs have been filled. There are still plenty of ways to help.


Read more advice from our expert on helping families whose children have cancer.

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