Preparing Siblings for the Hospital Visit
- Describe and allow children to see the medical equipment being used to care for the patient including how it looks, how it sounds, and how it is helping the patient. By seeing the equipment and setting in which it is used, the child will no longer have to rely on his or her imagination to make sense of things. A child life therapist may be helpful in preparing siblings for a health care experience. Call the child life department at (502) 629-7542 to schedule a visit.
- Describe to the child how the patient may look different than usual (bruises, abrasions, stitches, tubes, tape, bandages, etc.)
- Encourage the child to talk to and touch the patient, even if the patient is unable to respond.
- Allow the child to determine the length of the visit, as much as is medically possible. Some children just need to see what is happening to the patient, and others may want to spend more time in the hospital room.
- Afterward, the child may want to go to the waiting room or outside to play. Children use play to help them cope with stressful situations.