Sunday, September 09, 2007

When Your Child Visits the Hospital: 10 Tips for Parents

Taking your child to the hospital can be a confusing and emotionally taxing experience. To help parents better know what to expect and how to cope, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian created the Family Advisory Council, comprised of family members of current and former patients and staff at the Hospital who work together to help families get all the information they need so they can care for their children with confidence.

In this spirit, the Family Advisory Council offers 10 useful tips :

1. Take notes and include names and contact numbers for your child's medical team.
2. Store nurse's station phone number in your wallet, and call anytime for updates on your child.
3. Give the nurses your contact information so you can be reached anytime.
4. Ask your medical team about the care plan for the day and write it down.
5. Always repeat information back to the doctor or nurse to confirm your understanding.
6.Write down any questions as you think of them-even in the middle of the night.
7. Refer to your notebook when talking with doctors.
8. Ask for as many explanations of a diagnosis, labs or test results as needed until you understand the information.
9. Note any changes in your child's appetite, energy level, mood, pain levels, or other areas you observe, and share this information with the healthcare team.
10. If you think you child is in pain, contact the nurse immediately.

Parents are an integral part of their child's health-care team, even in the hospital," says Karen Bergan, parent leader and chair of the Family Advisory Council at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. "You know your child best. Listen to them and trust your instincts. When meeting with your doctor, communicate your thoughts, and don't forget to ask lots of questions."


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