Prevention of psychosocial problems in children with chronic illness.
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Children with chronic illness and disability are at considerably increased risk of psychosocial problems, such as neurosis, attention deficit and poor adjustment to school. Health care professionals, especially primary care physicians, can do a great deal to prevent such problems in these children and their families. The approach outlined here is based on an understanding of the transactional model of development, in which the child interacts with--and to some extent creates--the social environment, and on a "noncategorical" concept in which common elements in chronic illness are recognized and emphasized. The physician's role is to inform the family of the child's condition as soon as possible, to offer hope, encouragement and guidance, to watch the child's development, to maintain a shared view of the child and family, and, if possible, to ensure continuity of care.
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