Find Ways to Help
Your Child Recover

Working with your child's healthcare team

In The Hospital

You have the very important job of making sure your child gets the best medical care for his physical injuries. You are also the best person to monitor how your child is coping, and when some extra help might be needed.

In the first few days after an injury, many kids (and parents) feel a little upset, jumpy or worried, and can use a little extra support from family and friends.

In The Hospital

Aside from the injury itself, there are things about just being in the hospital that can be traumatic for children and parents.

parents with recovering child in hospital PHOTO

Working with the Health Care Team - Suggestions from Other Parents:

  1. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Some parents keep a pad of paper to write down their questions. This way, when the health care team comes to examine your child, you will be prepared. If you don't understand the answer, let the medical team know and ask, again. Ask your doctor to write down the name of your child's injuries.
  2. Stay overnight with your child, if possible. Ask permission to be with your child during medical tests and procedures, if you want to be.
  3. Be sure to let the medical team know of any pre-existing medical conditions, other special needs and fears, and allergies your child has, as well as whatever you can tell them about how the injury happened.
  4. You are your child's most important advocate – ask how you can get involved in your child's care and when you can make decisions about treatment. Let your health care team know if your child is in pain
  5. Take time for yourself. It is important to take breaks as often as you need them. Take a shower; make some phone calls; get something to eat or drink; or go to the chapel to think or cry – whatever it is that you need for yourself. After your break, you will feel better able to support your child. Let your child's health care team know when you leave your child's bedside and when you return.
  6. Make of list of what other people can do to help you. When people call and offer support, you will have something concrete to ask. You do not need to do it all.
  7. Ask the health care team to help you schedule all of your outpatient visits before you leave the hospital.
  8. Make sure that your child's pain is under control before you leave the hospital.
  9. Make sure that you have a good phone number to call if you have questions when you return home.
  10. Ask for copies of your child's x-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans.

Tips for Supporting Your Child in the Hospital:

Here are important things to remember to help your child cope better while at the hospital.

  1. You are the best person to help your child.
  2. Be patient with your child.
  3. Help your child understand what is happening.
  4. Make sure that you have a good phone number to call if you have questions when you return home.
  5. Talk about your feelings together.
  6. Help your child see the staff as helpers.
  7. Stay with your child (or have a family member or friend stay) as much as possible.
  8. Take care of yourself.
  9. Bring things from home to make your child comfortable – bath robe, toys, and favorite books.

Download Child Tips PDF

Tips for Supporting Your Teen in the Hospital:

Teens in the hospital have many of the same concerns, but are better able than younger children to understand and participate in their treatment.

Additional tips for helping your teen cope better while at the Hospital:

  1. Be honest with your teen.
  2. Include your teen in medical discussions when possible.
  3. Encourage your child's health care team to talk with your teen directly and let him answer his own questions. He might want to talk alone with the doctors.
  4. Remember that teens can be self-conscious, and they may worry about how they will look and fit in with others, and about their privacy.
  5. Help your teen stay connected with old friends, as well as make new friends in the hospital.
  6. Bring things from home to make your child comfortable – bath robe, music, and magazines.
  7. Call your child's school to let them know what has happened.

Download Teen Tips PDF

Resources for Families

Most hospitals have staff who is experienced with helping other parents and caregivers in your situation. If you are upset, have questions about how to help your child, or just need to talk, please seek out someone at the hospital who is available to assist you and your family. This may be a:

  • Social Worker
  • Chaplain
  • Or a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist


Once your child has been discharged and you have returned home, come back to this website for more information on ways parents can help their kids.