They need more than showers, food, and free Wi-Fi. They need a network of people to provide emotional support for their family when they can’t stand on their own. These three tips can help parents create and tap into the support they need.
Tip 1: Tap Into the Hospital Network
Locate the built in hospital support network as quickly as possible. Ask to speak to a hospital chaplain, a social worker, or child life specialists. They will listen to your concerns and point you to other resources.
Tip 2: Tap Into the Parent Network
Take advantage of the built-in support network of parents on the pediatric floor outside your child’s room. The other parents know what you’re going through. They share the same fears and emotions, so reach out to them. Visit in the halls or while your kids visit the playroom. Ask for advice, and connect with them when you feel vulnerable.
Tip 3: Tap Into Your Personal Network
Your most powerful network will consist of the people you know best: family, friends, church family, and coworkers. These three strategies can enhance communication with your personal support network:
Ask a tech savvy person to coordinate communication. Call or email that person daily or in emergency situations with updates and requests. The coordinator can then pass the information onto others.
Create a website at www.CaringBridge.org or www.CarePages.com. These two websites provide free web pages for patients and their families. You and/or your child can write daily updates, send out prayer requests, and post photos. Friends and family can read the posts and leave comments for you to look at when time permits
Share information quickly through Twitter and Facebook if privacy isn’t a concern. If it is, stick with Caring Bridge or Care Pages.
Parents may be tempted to ignore their own needs and focus solely on their hospitalized child. They may forget that they need to be cared for, too. By tapping into the three support networks described above, parents can get the support they need to care and advocate for the children they love.
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Jolene is the author of the Different Dream Parenting series for parents of kids with special needs, and she speaks at conferences around the country. Her blog,www.DifferentDream.com, provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with… Read More
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