Thursday, December 8, 2016

10 Tips to Help Your Child Cope with Being Hospitalized

In additional to possibly not feeling well during a hospitalization, children may not understand medical procedures and may be afraid of unfamiliar surroundings. Although a child’s hospitalization may hard for both parents and child, there are several things a parent or caregiver can do to ease fears and make a child’s hospitalization easier for everyone.

1) Bring comfort items from home. If you have a younger child, items such as stuffed animal or a favorite blanket may bring a sense of security to the child. Older children may want to bring a video game or books. Allowing teens to bring a laptop. Ipod or cell phone may help them stay connected with friends. Always check with your hospital to determine what is allowed.

2) Enlist the help of the child-life specialist. A child life specialist is a medical professional who focuses on helping a child in the hospital understand and cope with medical procedures. The specialist can explain medical procedures, provide support and help the child develop coping strategies.

3) Set daily goals. Depending on your child’s condition and length of hospitalization, it may be helpful to set daily goals. This helps your child feel like he is accomplishing something and getting closer to discharge date. For example, goals could be getting up and walking, doing breathing exercises and taking pill orally,

4) Consider a reward system. Sometimes, taking medication or allowing blood to be taken can be a challenge, especially for younger children. Unfortunately medical procedures have to be done and your child may not like it. Developing rewards, such as watching a favorite movie may help motivate your child to cooperate with needed procedures.

5) Explain procedures and tests in an age appropriate way. Do your best to be honest with your child, without scaring him. Use explanations your child will understand. Give small amounts of information at a time. Encourage questions. Understanding what will happen, may help reduce fears during your child’s hospitalization.

6) Maintain privacy for your child. This may especially be true for teens and pre-teens. Staff maybe coming and going in your child’s room. Ask personal to knock before coming in. Respect your child’s modesty and ask staff to do the same.

7) Keep communication open. Don’t just ask your child how she feels. Ask specific questions. Understand your child may sometimes not feel like talking and that is OK. Just let him know you are there whenever he does want to talk

8) Get out of the hospital room if possible. Depending on your child’s condition, she may be allowed to get out of the room for a while. Take a walk to the playroom, the cafeteria or outside.

9) Help your child stay in touch with the outside world. This is especially important for a lengthy hospital stay. If allowed, encourage other family members and friends to visit. Encourage phone calls and emails from those who can’t visits.

10) Take care of yourself. As a parent or caregiver, you may hesitate leaving your child’s bedside. However, getting exhausted and sick may prevent you from being there for your child. Try to take a break when you can and get some rest. Alternate with other trusted adults to keep your child company.


Labels: 10 Tips to Help Your Child Cope with Being Hospitalized

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