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New experiences bring a certain amount of fear and doubt.
When a child has heart disease, many new and different things occur:
Each of us, whether child or adult, can better cope with something new when someone tells us:
It's important to prepare both yourself and your child for what may happen.
The Heart Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh offers ways to help you and your child get ready for your stay.
Parents are the most important people in a child's life. When your child has to come to the hospital, you need to help them start to understand what will happen and why.
Encourage them to ask questions.
Use your child's age and the types of questions they ask to guide in getting them ready for the hospital.
While personalities differ, there are basic guidelines that can help you and others talk with your child about coming to the hospital.
We've listed these guidelines below, based on your child's age:
We've included the people — parents, care team members, and others — who may talk with your child during their hospital stay. And we offer ways how each type of person might best talk about your child's treatment and hospital experiences.
Infants and young children are most upset when they must be apart from their homes and parents. They don't trust strangers.
Very young children can't grasp why unpleasant things are happening. Shots are especially hard for them.
In helping children of this age with trips to the hospital, give special attention to:
These efforts will help your child feel safe and secure.
School-age children have a better sense than young kids of why they must come to the hospital. But they still feel sad and scared.
They're very involved in school, routines, and friendships. Changes that may happen because of their hospital stay often upsets them.
They fear they will be different than their peers and excluded from friends and their activities. They hate shots and carry this awful memory home with them.
Giving your school-age child the chance to actively explore their new surroundings and plan for their hospital stay can help prepare them.
While having feelings like those of school-age children, teens have other concerns.
They worry about body scars from treatments, the impact of heart disease on their future, and dying.
Teens who've already had many treatments may need special help in getting ready for a hospital stay.
Urge your teen to express their thoughts and concerns. Sharing how you feel about their upcoming hospital stay may help start this discussion and show it's okay to talk about feelings.
Sometimes it's hard for parents to talk with their kids about issues they feel are sad and frightening, like a hospital visit. But health care professionals know children who properly prepare for a hospital stay adjust much easier to the experience.
Because hospital admissions often happen on the day of the procedure, preparing your child must start at home.
UPMC Children's Hospital can help.
Heart Institute staff members have written booklets to help you talk with your child about their hospital stay.
Call our office at 412-692-5540 to order these free booklets.
Heart Institute doctors, nurses, and social workers are always free to talk with you about:
We can speak with you over the phone, or you can arrange an in-person office visit. Call us at 412-692-5540.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With MyCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
For questions about a hospital bill call:
To pay your bill online, please visit UPMC's online bill payment system.
Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.