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Getting Your Child Ready for a Hospital Stay

March 17, 2021

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.”

They see children and their families at Goryeb during or even before a hospital visit, at the Valerie Center and emergency department.

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.