Some simple steps can prepare a child – and his or her parent or guardian – for a hospital visit, so that tests or procedures go well. Did you know, for example, that a special toy, stuffed animal, pillow or blanket can help?
“For a one-hour test or an overnight hospital stay, having something like these – something familiar to the child – can make a world of difference,” says Kristin Holtzman, child life specialist for Goryeb Children’s Hospital.
She’s part of a team there with degrees in child development and related areas, plus extensive training in the health care field called “child life.”
To help a toddler, for example, a child life specialist might use a doll to show what an X-ray will be like. For older children, a conversation might be all that’s needed. For infants, the parent or guardian is the focus.
“We can help take away some of the mystery or anxiety,” Holtzman says. “So whether a visit is planned or not at all expected, we can support every member of the family.”
For more information, contact the Child Life Department at Goryeb Children’s Hospital at 973-971-6795.