Caring for a Child Dependent on Medical Technology
Medical technology has come a long way and is much improved over what it once was. The advances can be attributed to an increased knowledge in many fields such as anatomy, molecular biology, and physiology as well as the development of more elaborate medical tools and vast improvement in many types of medications as well as fluids used for intravenous.
While in hospital
Often the need for medical technology for a child comes about as a result of the discovery that the child has a birth defect or due to a serious illness or an accident. In these instances the child will be admitted to either a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) or for infants, to a newborn intensive care unit. While the staff will be well trained in dealing with all of the lights, tubes, machines and monitors for your child’s condition do not feel that as a parent you are not needed. You are an integral part of your child’s life so realize that your place is right there at his or her bedside providing love and support.
What you as a parent can do
-Visit your child often and stay as long as you possibly can each time you visit. It is essential that your child sees you as well as hears your voice. Touch your child’s hand and utter words of love, understanding and encouragement. Ask staff if it is okay if you bring the child’s brother or sister in for a visit.
-Take note of how your child communicates with you on each visit and how he or she reacts to your words and gestures. Always keep the hospital staff aware of what happens at each one of your visits.
-Be as cooperative with the hospital staff as possible. Follow all of the instructions that are required of visitors who come into the intensive care units. Remember that the rules are there to protect the patients, one of which is your child.
-Ask as many questions of the nurses and doctors as you need to. Learn everything you can about your child’s medical condition as well as the progress your child is making day to day.
-Watch closely how the hospital staff attends to your child. Do not automatically leave the room when a nurse comes in to do something with your child.
-Study all of your child’s medical machinery to learn what it is used for and how it works. If there is something you do not understand then ask a member of the staff.
-Do not be afraid to reach out to other families who have children in the same intensive care unit to share your experiences and to learn from one another. This will provide a source of comfort and strength to you as well.
-Realize that you are only human and take breaks in order to recharge your batteries. As much as you might like to, you cannot be with your sick child 24/7.
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