Psychosocial aspects of chronic illness in adolescence
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Success in the survival of children with significant medical conditions has resulted in a dramatic increase in the prevalence of adolescents with chronic illness. Unfortunatelly, the traditional biomedical approach does not prepare practitioners for the complexities of managing chronic illness, because numerous psychosocial factors are involved. This article will address the need for integrating psychosocial issues into the assessment and treatment of the chronically ill adolescent. Assessment of the teen should incorporate an understanding of the developmental stages of adolescence, a review of how these developmental tasks are being accomplished, a discernment of individual characteristics, and knowledge of the family and community to which they belong. Management should take into account the phases of illness (acute, chronic or terminal) and encourage empowerment of the adolescent and family in decision making. A team approach that is community—based, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate is ideal.
Key wordsChronic illness Adolescence Psychosocial aspects
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