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When Your Child Needs Surgery: How to Prepare

As a parent, knowing that your child must undergo surgery – even a minor surgery – can be unnerving. And for your child, experiencing fear about the event is very common. While surgery may be unavoidable, you can help your child prepare for the big day in the following ways:

Tell Them at the Right Moment

Depending upon the age of your child, as well as your child’s unique coping abilities and personality, when you tell your child that they have to undergo surgery can vary greatly. According to Tips for preparing your child for surgery, a toddler should be told about the surgery one to two days before it occurs; a preschool-aged child three to five days before; a school-aged child at least one to two weeks before the surgery is scheduled; and a teenager should be notified about the surgery immediately, and take an active role in pre-surgery preparation and care.

When you tell your child matters because children may need more time to process the news and prepare for it depending upon their age.

Make the Hospital Experience Familiar and Fun

Most adults would readily agree that there is nothing fun about a trip to the hospital, especially to undergo surgery. But most kids do not know the difference either way, and will only associated a hospital trip as negative if you present it in that way. As a parent, it is very important that you control your emotions related to the surgery when in front of your child; showing that you are anxious or fearful will cause your child to mirror these emotions.

Instead, try to present the hospital experience as fun, and familiarize your child with what will happen before the day of. For example, young children may play doctor at home with you, other children, or dolls. For both old and young children, take a trip to the hospital so that your child is familiar with the situation. On the day of the event, have a bag packed with some of your child’s favorite items, such as a much-loved stuffed animal. You can also plan a fun post-operative event so that your child as something to look forward to.

Allow for Open Dialogue

Your child will likely have dozens of questions about the surgery, what they can expect, whether or not it will hurt, why they need the surgery, where you will be during the operation, how long they will need to stay there, etc. Allow for open dialogue, and answer each of your child’s questions to the best of your abilities. Comfort your child and show them plenty of love and support.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Ready to Support You

At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we hope that your child’s surgery goes as planned without any complications. If something does go wrong, we want you to know that are experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys are here to support you and your family throughout the process of recovering damages. To schedule a free case consultation, call us at 866-236-4230.

Contact us for your consultation (215) 567-3500

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