This article is sponsored by Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
My boys have been in the hospital a total of two times each. The first time was their birth and the second was when, on different occasions, one of the boys was rushed to the hospital in need of staples or glue. (One ran into the corner of a wall (glue) and the other fell backward and hit the back of his head on the trundle bed (staples).)
Other than that we have been blessed with no overnight or longer stays in the hospital. Just thinking of the idea that the boys and I wouldn’t be sleeping under the same roof makes me nervous.
BUT…it can happen. Whether it is for a routine procedure or something more complicated, it is nerve-wracking nonetheless. Living in Palm Beach County affords us the luxury of choosing from a handful of hospitals, but Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center truly stands out from the rest.
So Your Child Is Scheduled for a Hospital Stay…
You find out that your child has to go into the hospital for a required in-patient procedure. After you allow it to sink in, your next instinct is to prepare him or her for the new experience. It is scary for people of any age to have to go into the hospital, and even more so for children.
Thankfully, your procedure is scheduled at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital. Their Child Life Team has been created to help your little one navigate the different emotions that will occur, understand the treatment process, and build self-esteem.
Preparation is Key!
The developmental experts that comprise the Child Life Team are specialists that provide priceless support during these critical times by employing a variety of strategies to make the child’s hospital stay less stressful and more kid-friendly.
- Explaining the upcoming procedure in more understandable terms will allow your child to hopefully feel more at ease as to what is going to happen during the child’s hospital stay and in recovery.
- Teaching techniques to cope with stress such as deep breathing, aromatherapy, and/or the introduction of stress balls. Your child may not even understand what they are feeling, let alone how they can overcome it.
- Distractions during the procedure such as playing with toys or watching a favorite movie, if possible.
- Promoting positive behavior with goal charts and stickers.
- Supporting the entire family emotionally. The little patient isn’t the only one experiencing different emotions. As parents, we try to keep calm and collective but in all actuality, it is nice and comforting to have someone to openly talk about the feelings going on. Siblings, regardless of age, also are affected by the upcoming events. To have a team of experienced people that can help navigate these uncertain times is so important!
The pediatric surgery virtual tour video below explains the process!
What to Pack for Your Child’s Hospital Stay
Below is a list of some items to consider packing for your child’s hospital stay.
- Personal electronics for both you and your child (and please do not forget the chargers!) including laptops, cell phones, tablets, Nintendo Switch, and e-readers. Also, be sure to include headphones or earbuds, that way your child can play their favorite games, watch movies, or listen to music without distracting others. Make sure to install an antivirus program or app as the WiFi will be public.
- Comfort is key! Pack pillows, blankets (I had a “woobie” growing up that came with me wherever I went. My mom had multiples just in case one got dirty or lost), stuffed toys, pacifiers, and any other comfort items.
- White noise machine. Your child is going to be in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar noises. A white noise machine may help with naps and bedtime to drown out the extraneous noises.
- List of medications. Your doctor should have this already but it is good to have it on hand if there are any questions. Be sure to include the medication name, dosage, and frequency.
- Toiletries. The hospital will provide them if needed, but I like to pack our own toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, hairbrush, body wash, etc. There is something about having their own items to make them feel even more
- Flip flops. If you are staying in the hospital for an extended period of time, definitely pack a pair of flip-flops that can be worn in the shower.
- Clothing. Pack a few pairs of pajamas, loose-fitting clothing such as sweatshirts and sweatpants, undies, slippers, and socks are necessities – of course taking into consideration the number of days your child will be staying at the hospital. It can get cold in the hospital, so opt for a cozy robe as well.
- Entertainment. Pack your child’s favorite books, playing cards, board game(s), coloring books, and toys. Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is well-equipped with toys and activities to pass the time in the hospital, but it is always good to have variety!
- Framed photos. Print up some 4×6’s or 5×7’s of the family (don’t forget Fido!) to place around the room. Seeing smiling, familiar faces is always comforting.
- Food. This is dependent on your child’s doctor’s orders. You should definitely pack snacks for yourself to avoid having to go back and forth from the vending machine and/or cafeteria, save some money, and most importantly – have what you like to eat and not just what is available.
I’m sure there are a handful of other items that may be more specific to your child’s needs or the procedure, but do hope that this list helps!
A Little About Palm Beach Children’s Hospital
Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is conveniently located in West Palm Beach. Aside from the 24-hour dedicated award-winning pediatric emergency room, Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is well-known for its leading pediatric orthopedists, treatment center for childhood cancer, diabetes care, adolescent bariatrics, and a cystic fibrosis center.