Potentially Life-Limiting Conditions

“Sometimes he was very strong and able to come to school, and sometimes he was homebound. The students would see the child in the school and out of the school. They would celebrate when he was doing well. Then we went through, unfortunately, the time where he became very ill and he passed away.” (School Counselor)

It is increasingly common for children with serious and potentially life-limiting physical conditions to attend school in regular classes. In some situations, students continue in classes until close to the time of their death. This module describes steps school staff can take to provide support to a seriously ill student, as well as to classmates who are likely to have questions and concerns. Similar approaches can be taken when a member of the school staff is seriously ill.

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For more information on supporting grieving children, refer to The Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools by David Schonfeld and Marcia Quackenbush.