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Preparing for Your Adolescent Child’s Hospital Stay

What You May Want to Prepare Your Teen For:

  • Change in routine
    • Diet restrictions
    • Changes in sleep patterns
    • Mobility restrictions
    • Time away from school
    • Time away from sports and activities
  • Separation from peers and caregivers
  • Unfamiliar environment and people
  • Feeling homesick
  • Loss of independence
  • Lack of privacy

When to Talk to Your Teen:

  • As soon as you begin to receive information and begin to plan for admission

How to Prepare Your Teen:

  • Bring familiar items from home
    • Favorite blanket, pillow, slippers, activities (books, music, arts and crafts, games, laptop) as well as any items you think may be helpful
    • Encourage him to help with the packing to be sure his favorite items are included
  • Create a plan for consistent caregivers (make a schedule of who can be at the hospital at different periods of time)
  • Communicate with your teen’s teachers about ways to keep up with school work
  • Provide her an opportunity to participate in health care — encourage her to ask questions and take part in decision making
  • Plan ways for her to keep in touch with peers

Talk to your teen about her upcoming hospital stay and reason for admission openly, honestly. Teens are more likely to maintain a trusting relationship if they feel included in the experience and part of the decision-making process. Offer a chance for her to talk about what questions she may have as well as what she may be wondering about. Clarify any misconceptions that may arise in your conversation. Talk with her about ways to share her upcoming hospital stay with peers. 

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