It is important to get the lay of the land if your child is in the hospital. Here are some important, practical tips to keep in mind to help you get your bearings.
1. Make names a must in all hospital interactions.
- Names are the first thing to go in the hospital setting. Using names encourages the essential human connection – the key to collaborating with your care team. Get to know the names of your doctors and nurses – don’t let them remain strangers to you or your family at this most crucial time. Nurses are the human face of technology driven care. Your nurse is your day-to-day point person and coordinates your child’s daily care plan. Nurses can explain to you – in plain language – what are the goals of care each day. Often you might only see your doctor during the short time they are making rounds.
2. Consider your child’s hospital room your temporary home.
- Find out how to work the TV, the phone, the bed, and the call button. Make sure that everything actually functions properly.
- Climate control is essential to your child’s comfort. Being cold slows healing and increases vulnerability to infections by suppressing the immune system. Make sure you have enough blankets for your child to stay warm.
- Pack extra pairs of socks to keep your child’s feet warm. However, always be mindful of slippery floors and change your child’s socks if he has been walking on the hospital floor before he gets back in bed – germs!
- Most pediatric units provide cots for parents because they know parents will stay 24/7 with their children if they can. If you need to go to work, make sure there is a trusted family member or friend who can stay in your stead. Never leave your child alone. There is just too much going on in every hospital and it is too easy for even the most basic, but important details of your child’s care to slip through the cracks. Your child needs you to be vigilant about monitoring their care.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have any tips that proved really helpful during a hospital stay?