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Duchess of Kent Day Surgery Unit

Preparing your child for hospital, a parents guide.

For children, the prospect of going into hospital is potentially frightening. they are likely to be worried about staying away from home and may be fearful about what will happen to them once they are in hospital. this guide shows how parents can help their children avoid much of this distress by preparing them for their hospital stay in advance.

Overcoming fear of the unknown.

For children, fear of hospital is often based on fear of the unkown.

They may not know what it is like inside a hospital, what will happen once they are there, or how they will be treated.

It is a good idea if possible to arrange a visit to the unit a few days before the admission as you will know what to expect beforehand.

Do not worry about bothering the unit, or being thought of as a nuisance.

Our unit welcomes such visits, and is normally arranged for you as a pre-admission visit, were we are happy to talk with parents and the child about the day in question.

Why should i prepare my child?

there are many reasons why it is helpful to prepare a child for hospital in advance.

  1. to help you child cope with their visit to the hospital.
  2. to help them feel less frightened.
  3. to help them understand why they are going to the hospital.
  4. to correct any wrong ideas your child may have about hospitals.

What are some common fears children have about hospitals?

  1. that a stay in hospital is a punishment for being naughty.
  2. fear of separation from the family.
  3. belief that doctors and nurses will hurt them on purpose.
  4. fear of being in a strange place.

How can i prepare my child?

  1. the best way to prepare your child about coming into hospital is by giving them information.
  2. tell your child a few days before that they are going into hospital.
  3. in a simple way explain what the operation is for.
  4. tell your child that they will have a special hospital sleep.
  5. do not let your child see your own anxietes as this will make them frightened.
  6. always tell your child the truth.. do not lie by saying for example that something will not hurt when it may do.
  7. encourage you child to express their feelings so that you know how to help them in the best way.

Activites that may help you prepare your child.

there are many ways in which you can help your child to prepare for hospital.

  1. drawing and painting.... this can help them show their feelings about coming into hospital.
  2. reading a book about going into hospital with your child can help them feel more confident about it.
  3. playing hospital games using their toys can help your child act out their fears and anxietes.
  4. listen to your child and be alert for any wrong ideas they may have.

these activites can help your child to ask questions about their visit to hospital. answer them in a simple and truthful way.


* prepare you child as much as you can.

* try to be involved as much as you can in your childs care.

* in a simple and truthful way tell your child what is happening.


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