Engaged families make hospitals safer

As the parent of a child with complex medical needs, I have had to face the reality that no hospital is error-free. My advocacy for my child’s health has been a necessary part of keeping his hospital experiences safe.

The most important partner in your child’s health and safety is you. You can help keep your child safer by sharing information and asking questions.

Share information

  • In order to provide the best care, your child’s doctor needs to know about your child’s medical history. Be sure to tell the doctor about any health issues your child has had, including behavioral and mental health.
  • To prevent dangerous allergy problems, tell the doctor about your child’s allergies and reactions.
  • Make sure the doctor knows about all medicines, vitamins and herbs your child takes, including the names, the doses and the reason your child takes them.

Ask questions

  • Write the names of new medicines your child is given, along with how to take them and why your child needs them.
  • When your child has tests and treatments, find out why the tests and treatments are needed and what to expect afterward.
  • If you need the doctor to explain something better, don’t be afraid to ask. The doctors want you to be a partner in your child’s health, so they are happy to help you understand your child’s health better.

Pay attention

  • Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent sickness. Watch carefully to make sure everyone caring for your child washes their hands.
  • Follow the doctor’s advice about keeping your child safe and healthy at home.
  • You know your child better than anyone else. If something doesn’t seem right with your child, talk to the doctor about it.

Teach kids advocacy skills

Advocacy is not just for adults. Children can learn self-advocacy skills and be partners in their own care.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Published by

madvocator

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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