7 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Pediatric Heart Surgery

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If and when your child needs surgical treatment for a heart condition, it will be done at a hospital with special experience in cardiac surgery for kids. It may be a hospital that is familiar to you and your child, or it may be a specialized hospital for pediatric heart surgery.

Pediatric Heart Surgery

1. Pre-operative Requisites

Your child would be seen for preoperative therapy and monitoring by the best pediatric cardiologist the week before surgery is planned. You and your child will be able to schedule a tour of the hospital during this stay. Popular pre-operative procedures include chest x-ray, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, and blood tests.

2. Prepare your Schedules

Children are generally admitted to a pediatric cardiology hospital the morning before surgery or the day before. How long your child’s surgery will take, and also how long your child will continue to be in the hospital, depends on the state of your child’s heart and the surgery that is being performed.

Often the schedule for operation needs to be abruptly changed as a result of an emergency. You and your child should be prepared to be able to postpone or delay the procedure of your child in case of an emergency with other children.

3. Prepare your Child and Yourself

It’s essential that you prep yourself, and also your kid, for the procedure and hospital stay. Your child’s cardiac surgical team consisting of the best pediatric cardiologist will provide you with the knowledge to better plan for your child for preoperative assessment, surgery, and hospitalization.

There are also nurses, child care therapists, or social workers who are specifically trained and willing to answer any questions. Touring the facility before surgery will help you and your child to understand how the hospital stay is going to be.

4. Make your Child Comfortable

To make your child feel relaxed in the pediatric cardiology hospital, bring their pillows, favorite toys, memories, sheets, or other possessions that remind your child of home. You will want to inquire in advance about the hospital’s appointment hours and rules as to who is allowed to visit your child in the hospital.

Parents and guardians are often permitted to stay overnight in their child’s room. If not, many hospitals provide accommodation overnight for parents or guardians in or near the hospital.

5. Tell your Child that they’re to be operated upon

Of course, everybody, particularly your kid, would be anxious about going to the hospital for pediatric heart surgery. The trick to prepping them, as well as the whole family, is to do so steadily, integrating hospital play into every day. Trying to read hospital stories at bedtime, purchasing or renting Playmobil or Lego hospital sets, or using other hospital toys, can help give your child an opportunity to experience the hospital in a non-threatening way. It is necessary to have brothers and sisters included so that everyone has an opportunity to participate. 

6. What to do if your child is exhibiting fears?

Throughout the games and discussions, it is important, to be frank, but not frightening, with your child regarding their admission. Respond to questions as frankly as you can, just as you would answer questions on any other part of their life. If your child is growing fearful of taking medical exams in outpatients or during a brief admission, it is important to speak to the specialist nurse about your fears. You will be assigned to a play team or a heart counselor who will arrange special play sessions to help the child communicate their concerns and discover ways to deal with going to the hospital.

7. When is the right time to tell your child?

Parents also wonder what the right time will be to let their child know about an impending hospital admission. This is rather individual, and also relies on how parents can deal with the child’s awareness as well as the children’s fears. Telling children weeks before the start could also lead to major issues with long-term anticipation, but letting them know a few days before you go in that the doctors are going to make their hearts function easier makes the child trust everybody.

Some organizations suggest that children between two and seven years of age be told the number of days before their admission which corresponds to their age. Older children are expected to be interested in earlier discussions, so they can be advised more in advance. Every child should have the chance to ask questions about what the doctors are planning to do.

Other Tips

Educate About Diets

It may be useful to alert your child that they will have different food following surgery and that the amount they will consume may be smaller than usual for a few days. Children will learn how to weigh drinks and play a bit with drinking limited amounts. Check if the hospital staff wants your child to have a low-fat diet following surgery. If they do, it’s a smart idea to carry some diet-friendly snacks available for your child to get plenty to eat.

Prepare Distractions

When your child learns about entry, involve them and their brothers and sisters in the preparation process. Pack a few boxes of their favorite games and encourage the siblings to put the boxes one at a time to help the toys vary over a long entry. Take a small purse or bag that your child can wear, including favorite comfort items, blankets, DVDs, and books.

All of this makes the infant feel part of the planning and feel comfortable in the diverse surroundings of the ward. Ensure that the child knows if you will stay in the ward with them, and if not, where to hope to see you.

Plan Family Activities

It’s also good to schedule something that the entire family will do after the admission is done – a family outing or a weekend, a picnic, or a friend’s visit. Don’t set definite plans and promise things that you will not be able to keep, but speak of the experience as optimistic as soon as your child’s heart is stronger. You may even focus on doing something fun the day before their admission, such as enjoying a favorite dinner, going out on a day, or meeting with friends.

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