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Family Resources

To help with your visit to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital:

For families visiting Sacred Heart Children's Hospital from outside the area, here are some convenient resources:

Find more resources under the Patients & Visitors section of our website


Preparing children for heart procedures

Children need to know what to expect from a doctor's visit or hospital stay. Pre-school children may only need a couple of day's warning, but older children may need  time to digest what you're telling them, as well as time to talk about it and ask questions. 

These guidelines may help you talk to your child:

  • Give children honest and simple  information they can understand.
  • Use neutral, unemotional language to describe tests and procedures.
  • Focus on what your child's experience will be like, not the technical details of the procedure.
  • Reassure your child that the hospital, doctor's office or clinic is not a punishment and that the staff are there to help him or her feel better.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and talk about any concerns he or she may have.

Siblings will also have questions and the same guidelines should be used to make sure they understand what will be happening with their brother or sister.

Remember, you are not alone! Our child life team specializes in preparing children and their families for medical procedures. 

Medical play to address children's questions and help them deal with their fears and anxieties in terms appropriate for their age level.   They also use books and special cardiac bears to help children understand  EKG leads, IV catheters, dressing over the incisions and tubes/lines the children might anticipate in the post-operative period.  If you have concerns or need help talking to your child about a test or procedure, ask to speak with a child life specialist.

Learn about the Pediatric Surgery Center at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital


Preparing yourself - what parents should know

Parents often experience an array of emotions as they come to terms with their youngster's illness. Immediately after the diagnosis, many mothers and fathers enter a mourning period, grieving over the "loss" of their healthy child. They must cope with the shock and the pain and try to accept the new reality of having a youngster with a chronic illness. Parents often deny this reality and tell themselves things like "This can't be happening... The laboratory must have gotten our test results mixed up with someone else's. When am I going to wake up from this nightmare?" Eventually, parents usually begin to find ways to accept their child's illness, despite periodically feeling sad, resentful, anxious, and angry.

Learn More (AAP ADVICE)


Web Resources for additional information