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Poster Numbers 1 to 29 – Palliative care: all conditions and all ages: Poster No: 10
Meeting the religious and cultural needs of children and young people with life-limiting conditions
  1. Erica Brown
  1. Coventry University, Coventry, UK

Abstract

Many children have multiple ethnic and cultural identities, possessing mixed heritage with parents, grandparents and great grandparents from different groups or communities (Brown, Gatrad and Sheikh, 2008). Most cultures and communities have ways of marking major life events. The culture or faith in which children and young people are brought up and the way they are taught at home and at school will influence how they perceive what happens at the time of death and beyond. In order that professionals are able to work effectively with children and young people with life-limiting illnesses they will need to develop skills and confidence so that client's individual needs are met. This will include an awareness of what children and young people have been taught by their families and communities about death and dying (Brown, 2007). A child's or young person's age, cognitive ability and anxiety level will all influence their understanding of what happens at the time of death and beyond and this also determines how they communicate their ideas (Brown, 2010). The paper describes the findings of a small-scale qualitative study involving 15 children and young people diagnosed with life-limiting illness. It is argued that children and young people are experts about their own lives and deserve to be given a voice so that they are able to inform the cultural or religious care they receive. The presentation is supported by case studies and examples of children's and young people's written and spoken narrative, art and poetry.

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