At the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, we understand that the admission of your child to hospital may be stressful for not only the child, but for the parent as well. A stay in hospital can be a frightening experience for a child, as it is not only the separation from parents and things that are familiar to them, but it can sometimes involve a series of intrusive and uncomfortable medical procedures. In addition, the child is in an unfamiliar environment and subjected to a system that they probably don’t understand, or have any control over. We therefore have made arrangements for the parent to be accommodated in the hospital as the child recuperates; this in return aids in reducing the recovery period of the child and gives him/ her greater peace of mind.
Sentimental items in hospital
With a hospital being an unfamiliar environment for your child as he/she recuperates, his/ her experience can be made less overwhelming by having familiar objects from home with them during this time. These items therefore will aid to take his/her mind off any unhappy or uncomfortable situation he/she may experience. We therefore encourage you to bring the following:
* A favourite toy or book
* A special blanket or pillow
* Interesting activity games that will keep him/her occupied – particularly if there is a wait before going to theatre, or the stay in hospital is going to be for a few days
The hospital will provide a gown that is worn for surgery or any special procedures that may be given.
Preparing your child for hospitalization
If possible, try to psychologically prepare your child for admission to hospital. Obtain as much information as you can, as this will allow you to answer all of your child’s questions as honestly and fully as possible.
Never threaten a child with hospital procedures, doctors or the nursing staff! In a child’s mind, pain and being in hospital could be easily associated with punishment. Children should always be reassured that illness is not the result of something that he did or is ever a punishment. Being away from home is traumatic for children and it is important that you reassure them that they will soon be back at home.
Children should be encouraged to express their feelings and to talk about any fears and expectations. A child might be more tearful when parents are present but they is just expressing their true feelings and therefore this should be considered a normal reaction.
Following your child’s return home, you might experience a change in your child’s behaviour. This is quite common and we advise you to be patient and give them extra attention. This usually works, and you will find that there behaviour will quickly return to normal.
Make sure you understand the instructions for the medication and treatment that must be given at home. Enquire about any reactions or side effects that you could expect. If you are in any doubt, or if any instructions are not clear, please ask any of our medical or nursing staff they will be more than happy to advice you. Our staffs are always available to assist you in every possible way.
Should the child need to carry the medication to school, ensure that their school teacher is fully aware and that they will assist the child in taking the medication in time and as prescribed.