How to Prepare

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Information for Parents

INTRODUCTION TO THE CHILDREN'S HEART CENTRE

CHI at Crumlin have made this short video to welcome you to the Children’s Heart Centre. If you are watching this you may have recently found out that your baby will be born with a Congenital Cardiac Condition. This is undoubtedly a very worrying time for you and your family. We recognise that the first visit to CHI at Crumlin can be a daunting experience. This video gives a step by step introduction to what you can expect and how your baby will be cared for by an expert cardiac team.

Click here to view the video on Youtube

TALK ABOUT IT

Not knowing enough about their condition or about what to expect when they arrive at hospital can cause your child unnecessary anxiety. Try to sooth any worries they may have by calmly discussing their condition using simple age appropriate language that is easy to understand. If possible, try to have shorter, more frequent discussions, spread out over a few weeks rather than leaving it all until the last minute. That way everyone will have time to become familiar with all the new information.

Of course, taking the time to digest lots of new information isn’t always possible as your child may be admitted to hospital as an emergency patient. Don’t worry if this happens as our nursing teams are very experienced at handling these stressful situations. They will provide both you and your child with all the support you need on arrival.

If, however, you do have time to prepare and you are unsure about how to discuss the details of your child’s condition you can find easy to understand explanations of most of the conditions we treat HERE. These descriptions are aimed at providing you with a good understanding of your child’s heart condition. If necessary, use the information to present a simpler version to your child, one that they are capable of understanding so that they won’t have questions playing on their mind.

KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Once your child is confident they understand their condition it is a good time to begin discussing some of the things they can expect to happen during their visit. Of course, every child’s experience is different but there are a number of things you can discuss that will give them a good idea of what to expect. The information provided below should help you talk your child through the process of coming to the cardiac unit for treatment.

In the DURING YOUR VISIT section, you’ll get a good idea about the initial process that takes place immediately after being admitted.

Visit OUR CARDIAC WARDS section of this website so your child will get a good idea about the new surroundings and sleeping arrangements they can expect to find.

In our MEET THE TEAM section you and your child can explore the staff that will be looking after their care and treatment while they are with us. The staff descriptions will also give you a good idea of who does what job in our Cardiac Unit. That way, your child will develop an understanding about who will be caring for them day and night from the minute they arrive.

If your child is older, our TEENAGERS section will help your child understand their CONDITION and any TESTS & TREATMENTS they may undergo as well as the process of transitioning into Adult Cardiac Care.

Talk to your child about the length of time they can expect to stay with us. Explain that their visit is only temporary and if they are too young to understand the concept of time help them to understand by using simpler concepts such as counting out how many sleeps they’ll have in our cardiac unit.

If you know beforehand what treatments or procedures your child will undergo then discuss them openly. Visit our CARDIAC CONDITIONS and TESTS & TREATMENTS pages for child-friendly explanations to help you prepare your child. Even explaining simple procedures like x-rays, injections, and blood tests can help a child feel more in control of what they will go through in the days ahead. If you think that something may hurt or cause them pain or discomfort, tell them. Keep it simple, but be honest, as this will help to avoid fear or confusion later. Assure them that it is ok to feel afraid and to cry if they feel like it.

 

ASK QUESTIONS
Should either you or your child still have questions before you arrive why not take the time to write them down together. The activity of making a list of questions will not only help to ease anxiety, but it may also bring to light where your child’s worry is focused which will help you to address it more effectively.

 Anxiety about coming to hospital usually arises out of not knowing: not knowing enough about the condition, not knowing who’ll be caring for your child, and not knowing what to expect when you get here. Our website is aimed at answering as many of these questions as we can but if you are still unsure about anything don’t hesitate to go through your list of questions with a member of our staff when you get here.