Talking to children about hospital-acquired infections

Children’s hospitals all over the country set safety goals, especially related to hospital-acquired infections, illnesses that people get while they are in the hospital. For hospitals, these infections affect their readmission rates and safety ratings, which affects the way they receive funding. Naturally, it is very important to hospitals to decrease these infections and keep their patients safe.

Hospital-acquired infections also matter to patients and families. Central line infections, for example, can be dangerous and even deadly. These infections can affect a patient’s health and quality of life. Many times, families believe these types of infections are an unavoidable part of the hospital experience, but they don’t have to be.

Health organizations across the country provide guidelines to parents for reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections. However, the vast majority of these tools are geared toward adults. Differently, Central Line Safety for Kids (a Super Safe Kids book) is intended for children. The series offers safety advice based on recommendations from national agencies like the Centers for Disease Control in a way that can be understood by children and their families. This allows children to participate in their own health care and advocate for their own safety as part of the health care team.

The seriousness of central line infections and other hospital-acquired infections can be discussed in a way that helps children to understand the dangers without being afraid. By including children in the health-promoting practices that are modeled in Central Line Safety for Kids, parents can help their children learn to self-advocate for better health outcomes.

Source: Centers for Disease Control
Photo credit: iStockPhoto

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Charisse Montgomery is the author of the Super Safe Kids series of books and safety tools. These tools engage children, parents, and their families in improving safety and advocacy in the hospital, the community and the home. A former educator, Charisse Montgomery has earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English, along with a master's degree in Educational Psychology, with research focused on informing and empowering parents of medically fragile children. She completed a graduate certificate in Patient Advocacy and serves on the Board at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

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