Talking to children about illness and death of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic

Elizabeth Rapa, Louise Dalton, Alan Stein - The Lancet

In this comment from the Lancet, the authors explores how to communication to children about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when someone in the family is hospitalised for or dies from COVID-19. "Crucially, the quality of communication with children about life-threatening illness and death has a long-term effect on their psychological wellbeing and family functioning. Therefore, health-care professionals need to identify affected children to promote and facilitate effective communication within the family," write the authors.

"COVID-19 presents a bewildering array of challenges for health care, public services, and communities across the world. Empowering adults to communicate with children about illness and death has the potential to mitigate the short-term and long-term psychological effect. The news that children currently face might seem almost unspeakable. But, together, we must find words, and ways, to give voice to their experience and prevent millions of children struggling with their fears and uncertainty alone."