Prepare for a Hospital Stay
Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Experience
Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers are unable to develop words and ideas concerning medical experiences.
To provide a sense of security in the hospital environment they need familiar family members, favorite toys and other comfort items from home. Have a familiar adult family member or friend stay with your child at all times.
Preschool children are active, curious and increasingly verbal. They want and need to know what is going to happen to them. These children should be prepared with a short, simple explanation, 1 – 3 days before hospitalization. These children learn best from play and normal activities. Encourage them to play doctor on a stuffed animal using a pretend medical kit. Allow them to watch movies or read books to them about doctor visits and hospital stays. Allow your child to help pack for the hospital and bring their favorite toys and comfort items. Make sure to ask your child what they think about going to the hospital. Preschoolers will use their imagination to explain things they do not understand. Be sure to correct any misconceptions they may have. Have a familiar adult family member or friend stay with your child at all times.
School Age Children
School age children like learning new things and are able to understand more complex explanations about their bodies and medical issues. They can follow directions and have some concept of time. These children should be prepared at least a week or more in advance using words they can understand about the hospital and reasons for hospitalization. They should be provided with honest answers to any questions they may have. They should be encouraged to bring familiar items from home for comfort. They should also be provided with ways to keep in touch with their families and friends while hospitalized. Have a familiar adult family member or friend stay with your child at all times.
Teenagers should be prepared using honest and clear explanations of what they can expect while hospitalized. They should have all tests and procedures explained in advance. Provide them with the choice to participate in discussions with doctors and nurses about their care. Allow them the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. Provide as much privacy for them as possible. Encourage them to bring familiar things from home such as a favorite pillow, their own clothes and pictures of friends and family. They should be provided with ways to keep in touch with family and friends through phone and internet access. Bring things for them to do to prevent boredom. Have a familiar adult family member or friend stay with your child at all times.
For information on how to prepare your child for specific medical tests, procedures or surgeries contact the Child Life Department at 318.675.4684.
What To Bring To The Hospital?
Favorite items from home may offer a sense of security and comfort for children entering the unfamiliar hospital environment.
· Comfort Items: A favorite stuffed animal, blanket or pillow.
· Clothes: Comfortable pajamas, slippers and underclothes. Our hospital provides child sized gowns, but your child may be more comfortable in their own clothes.
· Reading Materials: Favorite books and magazines.
· Movies: Every room contains a VHS/DVD unit.
· Video Games: Our TV’s are compatible with almost all video game systems.
· Music: CD’s, IPods or MP3 players.
· Laptop Computer: The hospital has free wireless available that patients and families may access with their personal laptops.