By Donna Cardillo, RN
There isn’t much that’s scarier than having to admit your child to the hospital. For the child, the process can be traumatic and overwhelming. But there are some steps you can take to make the process a little less stressful for the child, and the whole family in the process.
1. If the admission is planned and time permits, arrange a tour of the pediatric unit with your child so he or she can meet some of the staff, see the rooms and so on. Some hospitals even have great playrooms for hospitalized kids. This way, when the child is admitted, some things will seem familiar. Contact the admitting office about this.
2. Inquire if the facility has a child life specialist on staff. This is an individual (usually a nurse or other professional) who specializes in working with children who are hospitalized and their families to minimize stress and confusion. They offer support, guidance and information before and during the hospital stay. Ask to speak to this person if one exists. If not, ask to speak to the nurse manager or one of the staff nurses on the pediatric unit beforehand or during your child’s stay for suggestions on how to make the hospital stay as comfortable for your child as possible.
3. Bring some of your child’s world into the hospital room. Check beforehand about unit polices, but you may be able to bring in personal photos, posters for the wall, cards, a favorite pillow or slippers, stuffed animal, etc.