Every parent of a child with Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease (chILD) will have different experiences when going to hospital; whether it be an emergency trip, an outpatient visit or a hospital stay.
Hospitals can be overwhelming and, depending on your past experiences, can bring up a range of emotions for both you and your child. It is important to be aware of services and resources that may be available to support you, your child and your family.
Here are our top tips for managing hospital stays:
- To minimise avoidable worries, check out parking and, if necessary, accommodation options before your visit. The hospital website may also have handy links for patients and carers.
- Inside the hospital, find your bearings if it is likely to be a longer stay. Establish the location of:
- Children’s recreational spaces with books, toys and video games. There may be volunteers to help entertain your child, art or music therapy, and a chance for them to meet other children with similar conditions
- Parent/carer rooms with a refrigerator and microwave if applicable
- Water, tea/coffee and clothes-washing facilities (nurses can show you where to get fresh linen and blankets).
- Don’t hesitate to ask for additional support for either yourself or your child; and to talk through any concerns. There may be a psychologist specialising in chronic health conditions in children.
While hospital visits can be challenging, remember you are not alone.
Natalie, whose son has Obliterative Bronchiolitis and first had a trip to the emergency department aged just 15 months, stresses the importance of looking after yourself with the following tips:
- Take a quiet break with a cup of tea or coffee
- Where possible, get outside for a walk or visit a park
- Find out if there is a staff member who can sit with your child while you have a shower
- Get sleep where you can and bring warm clothes.
While chILD is a rare group, there is an extensive range of resources available for parents online at Lung Foundation Australia or Freecall 1800 654 301 to talk to our Info and Support team.