Families and Chronic Illness

Module Sections:

Vignette Applied to Integrated Model

Shortly after moving to Garden City, Sam suffered a stroke, which left the right half of his body paralyzed (e.g., factor A-Stressor/The Illness). He also suffered some cognitive impairment as a result of his stroke. Unable to perform the rigorous duties associated with his work, Sam was not able to return to his job (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources). He is often cared for by his two oldest children (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources). Jane found a new job in Garden City after several months of searching. Her new job, even though it is full-time work, does not pay as well as her previous employer in Emporia. Jane works 40+ hours per week, in addition to caring for Sam when she is home from work, and taking the children to and from various activities (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources). Their 6-year-old child has recently started hitting and being physically aggressive toward other children at school (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources). The oldest child has recently reported sleep disturbances and not enjoying her usual activities. In addition, her previous 4.0 GPA has plummeted (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources). The 10-year-old child has not exhibited any difficulties since the move.

In addition to the pile up that occurred because of the stroke, since this model is fluid, the effects of the previous pile up also would be a part of the overall experience of the model. For instance, they would still be adjusting to the move, and Sam’s mother would still be in poor health (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources).

Furthermore, the course of the illness will also affect the family in that the family will be transitioning (e.g., factor aA-Pile Up/lack or exhaustion of resources) from the crisis stage to a chronic stage as the family comes to terms with the fact that Sam conditions will be enduring, and may likely be a lifelong struggle (perceptions).

At the point of intersection the family’s resources and perceptions will determine the family’s ability to cope with the pile up (Coping).