When your child is in the hospital, it affects the entire family in different ways. Here are some practical tips on getting the support you need while your child is recovering.
- Space visits from relations or friends so that they can provide relief or companionship for you. Arranging "shifts" with your child will allow you to go home to rest or take care of household issues.
- Ask friends and relatives for specific help, such as watching your other children during the day, bringing over a home-cooked meal on a specific day or running errands on certain days of the week. In many cases, people want to help but need to be told how they can best help.
- Take some time out each day to talk with your spouse or partner. Also, remember to do something for yourself to give yourself a mental break, whether it is reading the newspaper, taking a long bath or exercising.
- If your child has a scheduled hospital visit, try to make necessary domestic arrangements ahead of time so that you can focus on tending to your child with minimal distractions. Work out a plan with your spouse or partner as to who will be responsible for various care and home duties.
- Enlist the help of relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles) to provide the extra attention and emotional support that siblings may need at this vulnerable time. You also should reserve a certain amount of time each day to spend with your other children so that they do not feel neglected.
- If the situation gets too stressful, get input from others (family, nurse, counselor, support group) on how to best cope. All hospitals have chaplain services and a social worker to work with families.