Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Little Person, Big Illness

Riki Goldstein

How to help the seriously ill child — and his family — survive a hospital stay

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A white bed. A child’s hot grasp, and the deliberate drip-drip of fluid through IV lines. Walls bear stencils of Winnie the Pooh and friends, windows are festooned with gaily colored gel stickers, but through the thin curtains, machines beep. Other children talk, play, and… cry in pain. It’s every parent’s nightmare: the children’s ward Illness is a trial that can strain every human fiber to capacity; watching one’s child endure it is even more difficult. A parent lives sickness vicariously, as they watch a beloved child learn about the painful realities of life. And much as Daddy and Mommy would give anything to do so, they cannot kiss the boo-boo away.   Overcoming the Fear “Hospitals can be frightening and lonely for children. They’re in pain, really uncomfortable, away from home, and have limited control over what’s happening,” explainsDr.CherylBook, director of clinical and family services at Chai Lifeline. “Wouldn’t you be scared in that situation?” Regardless of age, children cope better when they know what will happen and why each procedure is necessary. One way to help mitigate the fear of the unknown is to give children a tour of the hospital, especially the children’s floor, before admission. Parents should also equip themselves with information, so they can comfortably explain what’s going on. Many hospitals offer informative children’s books about common illnesses and procedures, sometimes even lifelike medical dolls upon which a child patient can actually “perform” the procedure. After initial explanations of treatment protocols by the doctor and nurse practitioner, the hospital’s child life specialist will talk the child through them. Some hospitals participate in the international Beads of Courage program, a system that helps children make it through their treatments. The young patient receives a string of beads that spell out her name and, with each procedure, a new specially colored bead that represents that procedure. A blood transfusion, for example, is marked by a red bead. Tangible manifestations of what she’s successfully endured help encourage the child and can alleviate distress as she fights her disease.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you