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France: Tête en l'Air

The cover of a guide edited by the organization

AREVA Foundation supports the “Tête en l’air” association, which assists families of children undergoing neurosurgery and helps them when they return to daily life.

Assisting the families

In France, 4,000 children undergo neurosurgery every year, 1,500 of them at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, which has Europe’s largest pediatric neurosurgery department.

When a child has a brain injury, it affects the entire family, which has to learn to live with the after-effects of the injury: impaired memory, psycho-motor disorders, behavioral problems… all of these cognitive after-effects interfere with the child’s learning process.

The parents, who are in a state of shock at the hospital, often don’t take the time to get all the information they need. The “Tête en l’air” association helps in several ways with the support volunteers and of an employee AREVA:

• A help line, available 24/7

• An 80-page information guide

• Information meetings for the families

• A 16-page bi-annual newsletter printed in 1,000 copies

• A website.

The association also organizes meetings between parents, children, nurses and doctors in the neurosurgery department of the hospital.

A welcoming atmosphere for discussion

Thanks to the renewal of the Foundation’s support, the frequency of the morning information meetings is maintained to once a week, not including school vacations. In 2015, meetings were held by 14 volunteers during 45 half-days with 300 families in the neurosurgery department of Necker hospital. 

The families look forward to the meetings as an opportunity to talk, to get information and to “come up for air” at a particularly trying and painful time. There, they get moral support as well as practical information.

About four times a year, a psychologist provides training in counseling and in individual and group follow-up to volunteers. A full day of training is also part of the program.