Hospitalization can affect adolescents in a variety of ways, and we can help them cope by preparing them for this experience. Some of the things that adolescents may be concerned about include body image, privacy, loss of independence and staying in contact with friends. It is important to offer information about the hospital, surgery and treatments in as much detail as the adolescent wants. At this age, some adolescents cope best with a lot of information, while others do not want many details at all.
In most cases, good preparation will provide adolescents with a better sense of control over the hospital experience. While hospitalization often takes away a certain degree of independence and control, we can encourage adolescent patients to take responsibility for as much of their care as possible, and we can offer choices and explanations to help them maintain some control.
Teenagers can be private not only about their bodies, but also about their thoughts and feelings. It is important to encourage adolescents to ask questions and express feelings and concerns, while also respecting their need for privacy. To achieve some privacy in the hospital, you may be able to draw curtains or close your door. Your teenager can stay in contact with friends by telephone, and friends can visit the hospital as well. There is a teen room available for activities and visits with friends.
Your adolescent may want to bring some familiar things from home, such as a cell phone, tablet, laptop, journal and comfortable clothes.
Any information that you and your adolescent can give to the pediatric staff, including comfort preferences, routines, likes and dislikes, will help us to provide the best care possible.
For more information, or to schedule a pre-admission tour and preparation, call the Child Life Program at (916) 887-0500.