“The impact of an informative leaflet on the behaviour of hospitalized children and the quality of care-giving in a pediatric department”
Your child is admitted to Hospital – Instructions for Parents
Your child has been admitted to hospital and naturally, you are worried.
We have prepared these instructions with the hope that they will be of help to you. By working all together, we will be able to make your child’s hospital stay more pleasant.
Please remember that we both have the same goal: for your children to get better so that you may quickly take them home.
Children are afraid of the unknown. An older child is helped by being better prepared, and even a younger child can understand simple explanations.
You should tell the child the truth and explain that the doctors and nurses in the hospital know how to make them well.
Tell them that they will return home as soon as they are well (many children are afraid that they will never return home) and that you will be by their side as much as you can.
Do not lie to the child as it is important for the child to trust in you and the hospital.
Admittance to Hospital
First impressions are very important. Throughout the admittance process, make sure that you too, are calm.
Many children have a favorite doll, blanket or other item which they take with them when they go to sleep. If your child has such an item, please bring it along to the hospital.
You probably prefer that your child wears his/her own clothing in the hospital. If you did not bring pajamas, do not worry, as the hospital will provide the necessary clothing for children. For sanitary reasons, newborns are required to wear only hospital attire.
When you must depart and leave your child in the hospital, it is better to tell him/her that you are leaving and that you will return and to say ‘goodbye’. When you leave without the child knowing, the child is more likely be alarmed.
The Head Nurse is able to answer any questions you may have regarding hospital procedures.
Medical Examinations and Therapy
We are all aware that the various examinations and procedures can be troublesome for the child. Children will be better able to accept blood sampling, injections and other procedures, and will hurt less, when they understand that it is for their own good and when you too, accept these procedures calmly.
We should explain to the child, as much as possible, what will be done, how it will be done and why.
The child should never see the doctor as a kind of punishment.
Many children overcome their uncertainty about the hospital, through play or by drawing.
When the doctors have the test results, they will inform you and tell you about your child’s progress.
The hospital will provide a diet for your child, according to his/her special needs. If you wish to bring any other food, even candy, you must ask the head nurse.
Do not leave food in a place where children can reach for it on their own. It is very dangerous for a child to eat or drink before general anesthesia.
Milk for babies is prepared in the hospital’s milk preparation area. The head nurse will order the milk your baby needs to drink.
Young children are dependent on their parents, especially when they are sick. The mother’s presence (or another loved one) encourages the child to better adjust to the hospital experience. Also, the mother’s help in the daily care of the child, allows the nurses to attend to more specialized matters.
The child also needs the father to be present and to keep him company but men are not allowed to sleep overnight in the hospital.
Visits from other close family members may be helpful for the child, but it will be better for your child and the other sick children in the hospital not to have too many visitors all at once.
You should not bring young children to visit and people who suffer from contagious diseases should not visit children in hospital.
Please DO NOT SMOKE in the hospital. Smoking is harmful to the health of an ill child.
THE CHILD LEAVES HOSPITAL
The child will be anxiously awaiting his return home. We should never say exactly when he will be leaving unless we are absolutely sure, otherwise the child may get disappointed if he cannot leave.
When you are allowed to leave, the doctors will give you further instructions as to how you will deal with the child’s illness at home.
Help your child to say good-bye to the hospital staff in a friendly way. This will help so that the child does not see the hospital as an unfriendly place. It will also help in case the child will have to be readmitted.
Get Well Soon!
When You Are Home Again
The hospital experience can be very stressful for children, especially if the child is young and the parents could not always be close by. Children may have a reaction upon returning home and they may go through a difficult period.
Your child may have behavior difficulties for a little while. He or she may cling to you, cry a lot or may even slow down in his growth. Some children display increased aggressiveness. You have to show much love, understanding and patience.
Do not avoid discussing their fears of the hospital. And please, NEVER talk about the hospital as some kind of punishment, as this will make another stay in hospital difficult for both you and the child.