Monday, June 3, 2013

10 tips for better hospital stays

My blogging engine lets me look at what people type in when they travel to my site and along with the “floortime” “floortime mama” but then some make me very sad “Husband wont accept  autistic child” “ “Child wont talk” and I feel such kinship  for the lonely fingers typing those words on another end of the internet

These days some people who arrive on my blog arrive after having typed in “hospital visit for child ” or Crohn’s

When we were first getting admitted to the hospital in February – I hunted for a something on the internet on how to prepare for a hospital stay. I really found nothing suitable

 So here I write this post specifically for you -unknown mum or dad -about how to make a hospital visit more bearable

Since R goes for infusions on a pretty regular basis, DH and I have the dubious distinction of some expertise in this area

1.       Explain why and keep it simple  When possible explain simply why you are at the hospital. We told R simply that we were there to make his belly hurt go away . That the doctor needed to look inside his tummy to see what was wrong

2.      Be aware that your child is hearing what you are saying. We found R looking up “Crohns disease in children” and “Remicade” on Wikipedia. These are not necessarily what you want your child to be reading

3.      Make a schedule and tick things off on the schedule. Most of the time children do not get why they are in the hospital or why things are being done to them. When things are being ticked off a list, it makes them feel like progress is being made and an end is in sight. Its important to highlight when they are going home.

4.     Bring some home to the hospital. Take their and your ordinary clothes with you – I know R found my tatty nightgown and snuggling up with his bedtime story book – a signal that things were okay and ordinary – even though things were far from ordinary.

5.      Go to pediatric units – Pediatric nurses are the finest creatures in the world and they think of things like kiddie videos that regular nurses won’t think about

6.      Reserve treats for Hospital Day If you need to go on a regular basis to the hospital do some special things that are reserved just for hospital day . In our case, we eat pizza at the restaurant , do elevators, watch some special DVD’s, unlimited video games

7.      Don’t cry in front of your child. Seriously, no matter how hard it is

8.      Prioritize physical comfort. Example if your child needs an IV, a nitrous procedure  is very relaxing,  Numbing cream can make all the sting go away. Make sure your child is warm.

9.      Distract your child – The hospital where we go to have a Wii Console – Every other visit, R has whined about getting the IV out and being “all done”. This time since the Wii had many new games, there was not a peep out of him

10.   Treat your child the way you want others to treat him. Most of us are really good advocates for our kiddos. But I think we need to go one step more than that. We need to treat our child with a special tenderness, treating their fears with respect.

This means for example that when a nurse jokes “oh he is going to fight that IV”, we don’t smile along with them. If you think about it – these sorts of statements are deeply disrespectful to our kiddos. Now I say something like “I would too if I did not understand why”.

Even though they did not mean any harm in the first place – there is a subtle shift in the energy of the room. R does not feel like mum and dad and nurse are on one side and he is on another. And the nurses treat him differently

Hospital stays are never fun. But I hope these tips make them a little more bearable  

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Floortime Mama writes about love life and autism at Floortime lite Mama ( http://www.floortimelitemama.com/)

1 comment:

  1. Extremely helpful post. Thanks for posting this, and all my prayers for fewer hospital visits in the future for R.

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