Chronic illness in childhood
In this chapter chronicity is examined and the paradox of long-term childhood illness and its effects on family functioning analysed. It differs from the following chapters in that we are reporting original research, and using this along with the literature review to inform our discussion rather than a clinical case study. The merits of adopting a non-categorical approach to chronic childhood illness are discussed and research evaluating the efficacy of an expanded nursing role in this context is examined. It was a growing awareness of the challenges and demands faced by families caring for a child with cystic fibrosis (CF) which first drew the lead author to family nursing. One of the questions raised by this study (Whyte 1994) was how much the family experience was peculiar to CF and how much it would be similar in other chronic childhood illnesses. This question is further explored in this chapter, and the appropriateness of a family nursing approach is assessed.