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Preparing your child

Preparing your child

Preparing your child

Upon entering the Northern California Shriners Hospital, one is immediately uplifted by the eight-story atrium that spirals to the sky. It symbolizes the belief that there are no limits to human potential and provides an inspiring backdrop to the complex, compassionate and comprehensive care that is the hallmark of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Those who enter the state-of-the-art facility are quickly comforted by the fact that Shriners Hospital is designed specifically to serve the needs of children and families, whose needs are embraced by a professional team devoted to treating patients in mind, body and spirit. The needs of the entire family are considered at all times, reflecting the family-centered approach to care.

For patients and families, the hospital stay begins with a warm reception by dedicated staff and volunteers who assist and guide all who enter the hospital to their proper destination. The entire professional team – from doctors and nurses to child life specialists and therapists – work to ease any anxiety and normalize the hospital experience. At every turn, a member of the professional team is ready and available to answer questions and guide patients and families through their hospital stay.

Hospitalization can be a stressful time for both you and your child. Your feelings about the hospitalization can affect your child’s emotions and behaviors, so remember to speak positively around your child when discussing the upcoming stay at Shriners Hospital. Honesty will be important to your child. Be sure to have all your questions answered by your child’s physician. The unknown of the hospital environment can be frightening. By helping your child prepare, you can make the hospital experience a positive one.

Younger children

  • Read stories or watch videos with your child about going to the hospital.
  • Encourage doctor play. Allow your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Allow your child to help pack. Let them choose a few favorite items to bring to the hospital.
  • Know what is comforting to your child and share those methods with the staff members helping to care for your child.

Adolescents

  • Have your teen speak with someone who has had a similar hospitalization.
  • Encourage your teen to maintain contact with family and friends through visits, phone calls, email or mail.
  • Have your teen pack for the hospital stay. Remind your teen to include both special and personal items – pictures of family and friends, music. Please leave valuables at home.

Siblings

Hospitalization can also be a stressful event for brothers and sisters at home. Their day-to-day routine may be altered with the absence of a caregiver. Brothers and sisters may experience feelings of isolation. To ease potential anxiety, please remember to:

  • Encourage siblings’ understanding of hospitalization
  • Encourage contact between siblings and the child in the hospital
  • Continue to provide understanding and reassurance for the siblings at home

When there is no time to prepare

Hospitalization can be sudden when your child has been injured. Having little or no time to prepare for the experiences and not knowing what to expect can be overwhelming. Children can experience distress related to unplanned events. You can help your child through this difficult time.

  • Be honest. Answer your child’s questions openly and honestly.
  • Remain supportive. You are your child’s source of comfort and love.
  • Ask questions. Be sure to have a clear understanding of your child’s hospitalization.
  • Share with staff what is comforting to your child.
   
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