Making Your Child's Hospital Stay Easier

Whether it’s your child's first hospitalization or he or she is a hospital veteran, the experience can be stressful for the entire family. You play an important role in helping your child feel comfortable. But remember, in order to help your child adjust to a hospital stay, it’s important for you to feel comfortable as well. Be sure to seek out the help and support you need and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

When you visit the hospital, no matter how long the stay, try to keep up with familiar activities such as bathing, dressing, feeding, reading and playing so there is as little disturbance as possible to regular routines. Your child's nurse will welcome you to your room and give you a tour so that you know where everything is located and how to find someone if you need assistance. Feel free to ask lots of questions. You might want to consider bringing a notebook so that you can jot down questions. When you meet with your child's attending doctor or nurse, you may be overwhelmed by questions and concerns and forget what you want to ask. Here are some suggestions to help:

Diagnosis

  • Do you have written information that I can use to learn more about my child's special health care needs?

Treatment

  • Can you explain what treatments my child needs and/or what will be done today?
  • Who do I call if I have questions about my child's health care?
  • When and how will I learn about my child's test results?
  • Will my child be in a lot of pain? If so, how can I help my child deal with this?
  • Will my child need to take pain medicine to deal with pain?

Medicine

  • What type of medicine is my child receiving? What is the medicine for?
  • How often will my child need to take this medicine and at what time each day? Should it be taken with or without food?
  • How long will my child need to take the medicine?
  • What side effects may occur and how do you deal with them? Who do I tell if my child experiences any side effects while I am visiting?

Nutrition

  • Are there certain foods my child can’t have while in the hospital?
  • What kinds of food would you recommend I bring to my child when I visit?

Support

  • Are there any support groups where I can connect with parents who have children with similar health conditions?