With a little help from my friends: experiences of building a virtual community for children with cancer

  • Paula Hicks Trinity College Dublin
  • Jane B. Grimson Trinity College Dublin
  • Owen P. Smith
Keywords: Health Informatics, virtual communities, psycho social support, chronic illness, paediatric, technology

Abstract


Approximately 31% of children under 18 years of age have a chronic physical illness or condition. Challenges that impact a child’s ability to cope socially, emotionally, and or physically are often referred to as ‘psychosocial’ challenges and include isolation, change in family dynamics, and loss of social interaction with peers.  Virtual communities
provide an efficient and effective means of supporting children who are vulnerable to psychosocial difficulties associated with chronic illnesses.  This paper presents the experiences of developing one such community
entitled Solas for children with cancer.  Solas aims to counteract the social isolation experienced by these children through the use of innovative technology giving them a sense of community and of belonging.
(www.tcd.ie/solas)

Author Biographies

Paula Hicks, Trinity College Dublin
Paula Hicks is a Project Manager and Researcher at the Centre for Health Informatics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Jane B. Grimson, Trinity College Dublin
Jane Grimson is Professor of Health Informatics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Owen P. Smith

Owen Smith is a Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, at Our Lady’s Children's Hospital, Dublin, and is Professor of Haematology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Published
2012-11-28
How to Cite
Hicks, P., Grimson, J., & Smith, O. (2012). With a little help from my friends: experiences of building a virtual community for children with cancer. The Journal of Community Informatics, 9(2). Retrieved from http://ci-journal.org/index.php/ciej/article/view/840