Hospitalization is a stressful time for the whole family--even brothers and sisters. Before a child visits a hospitalized sibling, it is helpful to prepare him or her ahead of time. Child Life specialists provide individualized support and unique teaching sessions for siblings. We have books and resources to help brothers and sisters become more familiar with the hospital setting and better understand what he or she will see when visiting.
Child Life specialists also help caregivers understand the many ways siblings may be affected by hospitalization.
As a parent, you may support siblings in many ways. Here are just a few:
- Reassure the siblings that you love them.
- Try to plan some special time together, just for them.
- Tell them that they did not cause the illness and it is not their fault.
- Reassure their fears that they will not catch the illness.
- Encourage the siblings to express their feelings.
- It can be helpful to have brothers and sisters draw pictures, write letters, and call their sibling on the phone. They may also be able to visit.
"Child Life was wonderful. Every hospital should take a lesson from yours. You know how to treat the entire patient and family."--A University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital family