Just like home
Being in hospital for any length of time is stressful on everyone. You or your child are coping with a lack of sleep, constant interruptions, noisy wards and beeping IV machines. Some of the tips below may help your stay be a little better and a little easier to deal with.
Keep the same routine
If you can stay in a familiar routine this will help normalise your experience. Children especially benefit from a constant and familiar routine. Adopt the daily routine you have at home and continue this during your stay. It might be you have a coffee and read the paper first thing in the morning, it might be morning yoga or mediation, or it could be your personal hygiene routine. You or your child will benefit from having faces and hands washed, breakfast, teeth cleaned, hair done and fresh clothes just as if you or they were at home preparing for the day ahead. Girls will enjoy bright ribbons and hair clips, a pretty long dress, fancy shoes or socks. Kids will enjoy their favourite morning TV shows with their breakfast.
The same applies for the night-time routine. Getting ready to sleep should include a similar pattern to home to help prepare your body for a good night’s rest. People recovering from surgery require a good amount of sleep.
At your child’s usual bed time, turn off the lights, let the nurses know you are preparing your child for bed, TV off and lights out. Have your bed made up at the same time they are preparing for sleep and sit quietly allowing them to fall asleep. You can take a small book light so you can read in the dark, use an iPad or phone with headphones to read, or a movie on a laptop. Whichever way you choose to entertain yourself before you go to bed, make sure it doesn’t disrupt your child from getting a head start on sleep.
For adults, try to wind down without the TV. Try a book or puzzles or talk with loved ones or listen to relaxing music on an iPod. You can try the relation techniques in our wellbeing section if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about your stay. Do let the nursing staff know if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Fresh is best
Fresh clothes, fresh bodies, fresh sheets, fresh air and fresh foods. How easily you get through your week in hospital will partially depend on the effort you make to look after your body and your personal hygiene.
Fresh flowers lift the mood in a room making it colourful, bright and cheery. Ask friends and family to bring some in from their garden or pick your own. The hospital generally has vases so ask a Nurse for one.
A touch of home
When considering what to take to hospital give some thought to taking in some small items which will make your room or bed comforting and a reminder of home. Consider bringing a favourite knee rug or quilt to throw over the bed, a photo frame with a photo of loved ones, a favourite pillow or cushion. For children, a favourite soft toy to cuddle, favourite board games, movies and books. Take something that is easily transportable, fits into your luggage and makes you feel good. These things will fill you with love and remind you of all the things that are there for you when get better and go back home.
For children you can decorate the bed by wrapping tinsel around bed ends, hang stars or a mobile above the bed or from the bed frame to disguise the ‘hospital-ness’.