Life-limiting conditions

"Every day still counts because that is so important."

It is understandable for adults to worry about the impact of a death for a pupil with a life-limiting illness or condition. These pupils may have experienced other personal losses such as sight/hearing, mobility changes, or cognitive ability. While the intention may be to protect these pupils by not discussing the death, this can lead to confusion and misconceptions.

It is important for all pupils to have a clear and honest explanation of what has happened, and to provide them with an opportunity to express their grief and ask questions.

Life-limiting conditions can be complex, and each pupil will have their own individual prognosis.Even pupils with the same diagnosis may have very different outcomes and it is important, both for them and those caring for them, not to make assumptions.

In trying to protect pupils with life-limiting conditions it may seem easier not to talk about a death. However, this can make things more difficult for these pupils, as well as for the wider community.

By acknowledging the death, it can help to celebrate the person’s life and help young people to validate and treasure their own lives, whatever their life expectancy.