Any surgery or medical procedure is a big event in a child’s life. Studies show that children cope better with medical procedures when they are well prepared ahead of time. Parents are better able to help their children when they are prepared as well.
Helpful Hints at Home
There are many ways parents can help make an upcoming procedure easier for their child.
- Answer your child’s questions honestly.
- Help your child feel more in control of the situation by offering choices before you leave home, such as what to wear or what to bring.
- Put your child at ease by showing your confidence, not your concerns.
- Listen to your child’s comments and be sensitive to hidden fears.
- Assure your child that illness and medical treatment are not punishments.
- If you have any fears or anxieties about the procedure, discuss them with your child’s doctor away from your child and before the day of the procedure.
- If possible, make arrangements in advance for the care of any brothers or sisters on the day of the procedure. You will want to focus on caring for the child who is having the procedure.
At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a child life specialist, trained to help children and families cope with hospitalization and illness, is available to help you prepare your child for the procedure. The Child Life department at Children’s at Egleston and Children’s at Scottish Rite offers pre-admission tours for those scheduled for medical procedures or surgeries.
- The tour before admission gives you and your child a chance to visit the hospital and see the sights, sounds and events you will experience the day of the procedure.
- The tour will give your child a chance to build trust, understand what is involved and gain control over the experience. It is a non-threatening way to learn about the hospital.
- Children are less scared when told what to expect and why. Pre-operative teaching can give your child the support that is needed.
- Parents and children over the age of 3 are welcome – as well as brothers and sisters over 3.
- Parents of children under the age of 3 are also invited; however, the tour is geared toward children over 3.
Document Prepared by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Department of Surgery