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Needs of Hospitalized Children

This page will give you an overview of what typical developments expect in your child, their needs, and how to help them during their hospitalization at different age stages. You may also download this page in PDF Format

I am 13+ years old (adolescent)

• I enjoy playing board games and video games.
• Being with friends is extremely important.
• Cell phones and e mail may be an important way to allow patient to keep in touch with friends.

• I have a strong desire to perform well, do things right.
• I have an interest in new skills.
• I want to earn recognition and be successful.
• I want independence and privacy.
• I have an increased anxiety about missing school.
• I am learning social cooperation.
• I can verbalize feelings.

• I need 8-12 hours of sleep per day (varies by individuals).

Physical Issues:
• Puberty can be a source of embarrassment and frustration.
• Sexual development and body image are on the forefront of their minds; be sure to address how procedures and surgeries may impact this.
• Body image and self-worth can be tormenting issues for both males and females.

Concerns I have about being in the hospital:
• Compromised body image
• Invasions of privacy
• Loss of status in peer group
• Death and disability
• Hesitant to reveal fears
• Forced dependence on medical equipment and nursing staff can be frustrating
• Fear of failure in school
• Teenagers may hide from confusion and lack of understanding.

How can you help me while I am in the hospital?
• Respect individual as separate from parents.
• Altered body image, privacy and peers are paramount.
• Involve teenagers in medical responsibilities and decision-making.
• Peer socialization will benefit patient.
• Preparation will help teenagers learn about and cope with procedures and diagnosis.

This content was provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center 2008.

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