Any time is right time for………… Tea goes an advertisement for a popular brand of tea. Tea lovers could veto this statement delightfully, too. But that wouldn’t be our cup of tea! We, the ideal partners of growing children could coin our very own slogan: Anytime is learning time not just the happy times, but also the pain-filled season while the child takes very ill and is hospitalized.
You may be surprised when I tell you that learning is done more effectively and faster when the child is in the hospital because
the child will constantly want to interact with you when he is awake.
the new and different surrounding will raise his curiosity and fill him with queries.
you are available by his side to give him total care and to listen to what he has got to say.
I can offer you a tremendous range of possibilities that would be possible ONLY IF you exercise the will to do it, of course! Supposing that the TV is not available to your child in the ward that he is admitted to, let us discuss how we can help the child enjoy learning new concepts.
Pediatric wards in the hospitals are usually child-friendly and display themes that appeal to children. Once the child settles in the new environment, he will want to go around to savor the novelties, or if he is too sick, he will want to be taken around. If you wish that he co-operate during the treatment, I recommend that you make a tour of the ward at the first possible opportunity along with the child. Once done, here is the list of things that you and your child could be doing as a team: (not necessarily in the order that I present), depending on your child’s age:
1. Hospital- an Organized body
You may ask your child to enumerate the various levels of staff members in his school, right from the management, academic heads, office staff, teaching staff up to drivers, gardeners, helpers and sanitary workers. It just remains for you to draw a parallel and talk about the hierarchy and departments in the hospital administration. The enormity of the chain and the coordination amongst them will broaden your child’s idea about the ‘hospital’. He will realize that it is the health industry in fact.
2. The vast variety of illness
The tour of the hospital would enlighten the child about the number of people requiring medical care and the types of ailments. The child would be surprised to learn about every single organ of the human body undergoing repairs like the parts of the car, which could be a common or known fact to him.
3. Variety of treatment
‘Each disease has its own form of treatment, considering its severity, age of the patient and his ability to receive it’ is the message that the child gradually learns. Now is the time to educate him about I.M. (Intramuscular), I.V. (Intravenous) and subcutaneous (just below the skin)- the three different ways of injecting the medicine. You could tell him that consuming the medicine orally by way of tablet, capsule or syrup takes longer time to get absorbed by the body, before it could act on the patient’s metabolism. The different tests (blood, urine, stools, swabs) could also be explained to the child.
4. Cleanliness and hygiene
When we tell the child about the bacterial, viral and fungal attacks, we are also educating him about the ways of staying away from them. Awareness is strongly created about the importance of his personal cleanliness and hygiene. By telling him to watch the measures taken by the hospital staff about sterilizing their tools and the usage of masks and gloves, we could educate him on how to contain the spread of infections.
5. Duty hours and documentation
The child could learn that the hospital never ‘sleeps’. Casualty section is always on its foot. The child could be made to watch the change of guard of the nursing staff, doctors and even the house-keeping staff. The child can observe the methods by which every patient’s medical parameters are recorded, analyzed, diagnosed and documented.
6. Medical equipments
The world of medicine will not cease to surprise your child. You could show him- at every possible occasion- the modern scientific equipments right from the stethoscope and the B.P. apparatus to the USG and MRI machinery and speak to the child about how they assist the doctors in treating the patients. The ‘Operation Theatre’ itself could make a huge topic of discussion with the basic correct knowledge that you have.
7. Rules and regulations
The child will learn that quality and discipline are possible when he is told that the hospital sticks to its own rules and regulations. You could tell him that the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ are patient-centered. He learns that even the caring visitors have stipulated time for visits.
8. Mode of payment
You could make use of the occasion when you settle the hospital bills, to speak to the child about the importance of the medical insurance policy or the social security. You could even talk about the importance of saving money if you are making a cash a payment.
9. Metabolic changes
With the help of books on human body, you could discuss about the changes or problems that the child’s body underwent and how the medical treatment relieved him of it. He could be asked to trace his metabolic changes after the successful treatment.
As the child himself is undergoing suffering and physical pain, he will be able to put himself in the other patients’ shoes and learn to be more thankful for his blessings. The hospital stay could make him more humane, if you could communicate it effectively.
Wishing your child an enriching time and a speedy recovery !