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Coping with the hospitalization of a family member

In addition to providing age-appropriate emotional support to patients, our child life specialists help siblings of various ages understand and cope with the hospitalization of a family member. Our team is available to assist siblings and family members directly at the hospital, or by offering suggestions for coping at home.

Here are some helpful tips for you as a parent:

  • Talk to siblings in an open and honest manner to help alleviate fears about the hospitalization
  • Have siblings help prepare for upcoming admission (i.e., help pack, make artwork and cards, and ride to the hospital with the patient if possible)
  • Allow siblings to visit in person and/or via the internet (child life specialists can assist siblings prior to, during and after visit)
  • Read books about hospitals to children
  • Young children may benefit from coloring books/pages related to hospitalization
  • Try to keep daily routines as normal as possible (encourage sibling to play and continue normal activities with friends and family)

NICU sibling visits

Sibling visitation is an important aspect of family-centered perinatal care. Visiting information will be available to all parents of NICU patients. Parents will determine if a visit is appropriate for the sibling and discuss any visitation concerns with their infant’s nurse, physician, nurse practitioner or child life specialist.