In hospital: A child’s severe illness, a family’s collapse

A boy with cancer, a girl with a severe illness – in addition to the hardships of treating them, the family faces its own difficulties

There are circumstances that result in a significant change in the lives of any family – some of them so complex that they threaten the very existence of a healthy family unit. Unfortunately, treating a sick child falls precisely into this category, and its implications for all members of the family are extensive. So what are these difficulties? And what is the best way to cope with them? This and more in the following article.

 Complete disruption of the daily routine

When a child is hospitalized, whether for a short or prolonged period, all members of the family must pitch in. They share a clear desire is to be there for the child at any given moment, and to give the child the support and assistance that they surely need. Moreover, most families must make sure that there is always a family member next to the child’s bed, sometimes even 24/7, in order to address the needs of the child and prevent them from feeling lonely and alone, which is inevitable under these circumstances. The child is separated from his / her usual environment and finds him or herself in a strange place that is almost always perceived as threatening.

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The parents and other family members must, as a result, change the normal routines they are accustomed to. They find themselves forced to miss work days in order to be at the child’s side. In many cases, their presence in the hospital is also required at night, which impacts on the next day, and even the entire week. The key to traversing this difficult period is to “distribute the burden” between the parents, as well as trying, from time to time, to take a respite that will allow them to renew their strength in order to continue.

 Creating a pleasant environment is an important factor

When a child is hospitalized, and especially when this is for a prolonged period, the hospital turns into a kind of “home away from home” for him/her. Therefore, the role of parents is to turn it into a much pleasanter environment for the child. It is at this point that they need to think about all the games, toys, crafts, or even small gifts that the child will love and enjoy, that will improve the child’s mood and allow him or her to pass the time. These items can be found in most Israeli homes, and they should be brought to the hospital preferably sooner than later. If not, it is important to purchase these items, with most hospitals having shops selling these products. A special Latet Tikva department supplies these items to families with sick children that cannot afford them.

And by the way, since Israel is also known for the warmth of the country’s citizens and their generosity to one another, it is important to remember that there is no reason to be ashamed to ask for help in some cases: For instance, if there is a need for games to help entertain the child during the stay at the hospital.

Economic aspect of hospitalization

Hospitalization of a child also has significant financial implications for the family. Unfortunately, such circumstances include huge outlays for various treatments, which can reach tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. As described above, many parents also suffer a cut in their regular income, simply because they cannot devote all of their time and attention to their workplace.

Resolving the financial difficulties brought on by the hospitalization, especially for a prolonged period, is no simple matter. In order to acquire some financial breathing room, many families seek the assistance of their relatives, or ask for a bank loan. Yet it is clear that there is no alternative, as the child’s health must take a priority over any financial issue.

Although hospitalization periods are characterized by intense pressure, it is important to remain organized and calculated. For any medical solution or acquisition, thought should be paid to whether it is the best solution for the child. One should never forget that some of the treatments offered in the hospital, or even the cost of hospitalization, may well be covered by family’s medical insurance through one of the health funds. Both prior and during the hospitalization, you should remain in touch with the sick fund and check whether there are treatments, tests or medications that the sick fund is required to cover, in part or in full. And if not, don’t worry. Latet Tikva is here to help the patients’ families finance the special needs of the sick child.

Never overlook the other members of the family

A hospitalized child needs considerable attention and around the clock care. Yet it is important to emphasize that the other children in the family also need attention, even in this difficult time. Parents must be able to juggle between their concern for each member of the family, and not forget their healthy children during this period. It is precisely at this time, when parents may spend less time with them than normally, that they may develop emotional or even psychological problems, that add fuel to the family fire.

Parents must organize, in advance, the care and maintenance of the daily routine for all household members. They must coordinate together the transportation to school, preparation of meals or even putting the children to bed every night – making the parents’ days even more hectic and complicated. Here, too, in order to deal with the situation, it is necessary to enlist the help of relatives, and Latet Tikva volunteers will also be happy to be there for you.

Because their smile will accompany you for life