Home Care Needs

Request written instructions about your child's medical care. Don't count on remembering everything yourself, even though it may seem clear at the time. If written instructions are not available, write down what you are told, and then double-check the instructions by reading them back to the person.

If your child needs help with personal medical care, such as changing dressings or bathing without getting a cast wet, have hospital staff teach you what to do and supervise your practice sessions.

Checklist for leaving the hospital

— Ask for a letter from your child's doctor giving the diagnosis with a brief and understandable summary of your child's treatment, strengths, and difficulties.

— Go over all medications with the doctor or nurse. Be sure you understand why they are used, the dosage, interactions with other drugs, side effects, and how to obtain refills.

— Know what the symptoms of possible complications are and what to do.

— Know how to use any special equipment.

— Ask how much help or supervision your child will need with everyday activities. Have staff teach you what to do and supervise practice sessions.

— Identify who the doctor will be for your child's primary care.

— Identify any specialists for follow-up care or consultation.

— Know when and where out-patient or home-based therapies will begin.

Sometimes parents try to do everything for their child at home. For some families and children, this works out well. Others may become overwhelmed and worn out. Help with home care is available for families and may include: