East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust BRAMBLE SUITE Fabricated or Induced IllnessLite Bite Dr Jan Reiser Consultant Paediatrician Designated Doctor for Child Protection E&N Herts NHS Trust
Objectives • For professionals to : • Understand the definitions of FII • To recognise the barriers to diagnosis • To recognise the indicators of FII • To know their role in the recognition and management of FII
Learning agreement • Everyone’s contribution is of equal value • We are all responsible for our own learning • Mobile phones off/ on silent • Acknowledge difference • Confidentiality, but not if safeguarding • Challenge opinions not the person • Start and end on time • Listen to each other/ speak one at a time
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 2009 • Suggested Definition: ‘An infant or child who suffers harm (or risk of harm) as a result of being presented for medical attention with symptoms or signs of illness which have been fabricated or induced by a carer.’ • Definition based upon harm to the child • Deliberate behaviour • Includes Fabrication, Falsification and Induction of illness
Fabrication Verbal Past medical history Fits Diarrhoea Falsification of symptoms or records Bleeding Sputum in CF Many others Induction Poisoning Laxatives Smothering Ie causing an illness ‘Normality’ Illness fabrication Ignoring real illness Over- anxious Laidback Illness induction Neglect Unconcerned Exaggeration Definition & Spectrum
Fabricated or Induced Illness Requires the participation of 3 persons! Carer Professional Child
Indicators • Symptoms and signs found not explained by known condition • Examination and tests do not explain reported symptoms & signs • Inexplicably poor response to treatment • New symptoms develop as old ones excluded
Indicators • Reported symptoms and signs do not begin in absence of carer • Normal life curtailed more than condition suggests • Eg asthma school loss with no signs • Over time repeatedly presents with multiple problems • Once perpetrators access restricted symptoms & signs improve
Mechanisms of Harm to the Child • Direct harm through induction of physical signs of ill health. • Indirect harm through hospitalisation, investigation and unnecessary treatments. • Psychological harm: • Directly due to the fabrications • Due to associated problems
Perpetrators of FII Characteristics of illness fabricators and inducers in 313 cases: • Predominantly mothers (89%). • Previous contact with mental health services reported in 30%. • Personal histories of fabricators included reports of physical and sexual child abuse (25%). • Reports of distant, passive or absent fathers. Page 29 of Fabricated or Induced Illness by Carers, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2002
Barriers to Recognition (1) • Ignorance about this kind of abuse • Disbelief – do not believe that FII exists. • Avoidance – do not want to have anything to do with FII. • Fear of complaints – the implication for litigation, trust and professional bodies. • Do not recognise own role – and responsibility in possible cases of maltreatment. • Are not used to working with deceit • Used to asking mothers for information and help regarding their children
Rarity. ‘Diagnosis’ not easily made. ‘Diagnosis’ needs to be made cautiously. A serious form of maltreatment. Child’s history v child’s presentation. Child’s presentation v clinical findings. Mother ‘befriending’ professionals Barriers to Identification (2)The Nature of the Maltreatment
Making a Referral • A referral should be made to children’s social care if you consider the child is a child in need, including in need of protection. • If making the referral by telephone confirm in writing within 48 hours. • Children’s social care should acknowledge the referral within one working day. • Do not discuss with parents until strategy for this is agreed
Strategy Discussion • Should involve all key professionals responsible for the child’s welfare, senior enough to contribute to discussion. • If relevant include: - Medical experts - Police - (Local Authority solicitor) • More than one strategy discussion may be necessary.
Recording (1) • Keep a record of events. • Record any discussions with the child and/or carer including quotes of what they said. • Note the time, date, place and names of other people who were present. • Store records in secure way.
Issues for Professionals • Ongoing assessment may take some time. • Uncertainty may be present for a while: uncertainty may be reduced… • The outcome of assessment may be a decision that it is not FII. • Consider a debriefing.
Multidisciplinary Approach Practitioners working with cases of FII should recognise: • Different professional roles and responsibilities. • Inter-dependence. • Working as part of a multidisciplinary team. • Working to an agreed plan. • Understanding of who to turn to for advice. • Feelings of others – double deceiving. • Importance of trust – open discussion in closed meetings.
Chronologies Purpose: • Enables patterns of presentation for medical treatment to be recognised for child and across generational boundaries. • Informs decisions about services and change. Should include: • Medical, psychiatric and social histories of child, parents, siblings and significant others.
HSBC Website • www.hertssafeguarding.org.uk • Look up Herts Policies • Link to FII is • http://hertsscb.proceduresonline.com/chapters/p_fab_ill.html#referral
What to do • If you suspect a child is subject to FII • Discuss with senior colleague • Refer to CSF • Do not discuss with parent/carer! • Strategy meeting • CSF • Paediatrician • GP • School • Police
Case Study • 8 Year old boy – Harry • GP • Diagnosis of asthma • blue inhaler, brown inhaler, tablet • Regularly repeated prescription • No admissions • No chest deformity • Diarrhoea and abdominal pain reported • Mother suspects food allergy • On an avoidance diet • Symptoms persist intermittently
Case Study • School • Many absences because of health problems • 70% attendance • Mother reports severe asthma and food allergies • Not allowed to do PE • Not allowed any school food • Playtime - runs about without restriction or cough
Case Study • Questions • What are potential causes of harm to Harry if this illness is imagined or exaggerated? • What are useful next steps (to confirm concerns)? • What are further useful tools to investigate the possibility of FII • What are potential further risks if mother learns of the concerns • What are impediments to diagnosing and managing this problem
What are potential causes of harm to Harry if this illness is imagined or exaggerated? • Unnecessary investigations • Unnecessary medication • Missing school • Social exclusion • Emotional consequences of illness role
What are useful steps to confirm concerns? • Discuss concern with senior colleague • Refer concern to Children’s Social Care • Record what has occurred and what was said • Prepare chronology • Do not to discuss concerns with mother
What are useful further tools to investigate this possibility • Strategy meeting with all professionals • Chronology of events • List all professionals who are involved • Direct communication between professionals • Distinguish reported problems and objective evidence • Record all that occurs or is reported
What are potential further risks if mother learns of the concerns • Change of school • Change of doctor (doctor shopping) • Change of symptoms (symptom migration) • Induction of illness • Change of effected child
What are impediments to diagnosing and managing this problem • Do not believe in FII • Do not understand own role • Fear of complaints • Believe it’s a complex diagnosis • Fear of missing a rare medical diagnosis • Mother ‘befriending’ professionals • Child with disability
What to do • If you suspect a child is subject to FII • Discuss with senior colleague • Refer to CSF • Do not discuss with parent/carer! • Strategy meeting • Children’s Services • Paediatrician • GP • School • Police
Read the case scenario and consider the following questions • What are your concerns about the welfare of the child and possible impairment to their health or development? • What evidence do you have to support your concerns? • Who would you share your concerns with? • What do you think you should do next to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child? • What would you record and where?