Through a partnership with Real Life Counseling, this program services children and their families. The counseling staff includes licensed and trained therapists and play therapists, specializing in children, teens, young adults, couples and families. The program is open to the public and is free.
All pediatric (under the age of 21) patients, parents and siblings are invited to participate in support groups, regardless of physician or hospital, and no matter what stage of treatment or follow-up care. Even if you are not a patient at Wesley Children’s Hospital, you are still invited to join!
What is a support group?
A support group is made up of people who are experiencing the same type of life event or stressor, gathering together to share their experiences and support one another. Pediatric health support groups are facilitated by a licensed therapists, and families will learn how to respond to all of the stress and changes that come about as a result of experiencing cancer. The support groups are as safe and confidential setting for families who are affected by this pediatric disease.
- Pediatric patient support groups – patients will meet other kids going through some of the same things they are. Age appropriate group will talk, do art and play activities, focused on helping them learn to work through change and deal with emotion and stress.
- Pediatric parent support groups –participants will be able to meet other parents with similar experiences as caregivers of their children with pediatric illness. They will learn they are not navigating this journey alone, and benefit from the support and experience of others.
- Pediatric sibling support groups – siblings of patients have their own unique experience when their brother or sister is going through a pediatric illness. This special group will allow them to share their experiences and get to know others going through similar situations.
Long-term support group goals
The goal of these support groups is to provide a place where patients and their families can meet and support one another through the difficulties of diagnosis, treatment and life change associated with a pediatric illness. Long-term goals include:
- Allowing patients, parents and siblings to connect and talk with other families walking the path through pediatric illness.
- Encouraging, inspiring and comforting children and their families.
- Recognizing, celebrating and commemorating patients and families at important milestones.
- Educating children and families about navigating the difficult emotions associated with pediatric illness.
All support groups take place in the Wesley Children’s Hospital lobby or the pediatric unit. Wesley Children’s Hospital is located at 550 N. Hillside in Wichita, Kansas. Please visit rlcwichita.com/pediatric-support-groups for group schedules or call (316) 425-7774 for more information.