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Going Home

Your Child’s Homecoming Will Bring Its Own Set of Adjustments

photo The extent of these adjustments will depend on:

  • The length of his or her stay
  • The seriousness of his or her condition
  • Changes in physical abilities or appearance
  • Continued medication and their effects
  • The child’s need for ongoing care or rehabilitation
  • Changes in behavior and emotional reactions to the experience

Before Your Child is Discharged, Make Sure You Know All About Any After-Care Needs

In some cases, you may need to do as much planning to go home as you did ahead of time. To help smooth the way:

Ask about:

  • Instructions for food, medicine, wound care, and activity
  • Signs or symptoms that would require immediate medical attention
  • Schooling arrangements, any needed changes
  • Follow-up appointments with doctors
  • Rehab options, if needed

If your child will be dependent on supportive technology, either for the short or long term, you will need to make plans well in advance of discharge. The discharge coordinator will help plan for:

  • Learning how to operate and care for special equipment
  • Modifying your home, perhaps by adding ramps or extra electrical capacity
  • Arranging necessary in-home services

Once You Are Home

Some children return to their normal daily routines quite easily, but some children do not. A child may:

  • Regress to an earlier stage of behavior
  • Have sleep disturbances
  • Act defiantly or aggressively
  • Not want to give up being the center of attention and may cling to “sick” role

You can help by:

  • Allowing your child to express anger, frustration or sadness and offering reassurance
  • Not leaving your child for long periods of time or overnight until he or she is resettled
  • Returning the child to his or her regular routine as soon as possible
  • Giving your child responsibilities that match his or her abilities
  • Encouraging your children to write stories, draw pictures, journal as a way to make sense of their experiences
  • Encouraging your child to take a role in the care at home, such as helping change bandages
  • Encouraging siblings to share their feelings and ask questions
  • Communicate with the schools (both for the patient and the siblings) about any changes