Children living with chronic illnesses may rely on family for social support during hospitalization. Understanding child and parent perspectives about the nature of the sibling and family relationships during hospitalization will provide information about these relationships during a stressful period.
English‐speaking children diagnosed with chronic illnesses, siblings, and parents participated. They were residing at a Ronald McDonald House. A qualitative study using interviews with children and parents was completed.
Seventeen mothers, eight children with illnesses, and twelve siblings completed interviews. Children with illnesses benefitted from connections with parents. Mothers believed that siblings and the ill child benefitted from being in close contact. Siblings were worried about their brother or sister with an illness, and despite this, the family was coping well. Siblings helped with the medical regimen for a brother or sister with a chronic illness. Trying to help the family function in a routine or “normal” fashion was important to children with illnesses and siblings.
Family connection was critical for children with chronic illnesses during hospitalization. Findings highlighted the importance of sibling support as a factor promoting child and family resilience when a child is facing medical procedures.