Bringing a healthy child to visit a very ill sibling in the hospital can help the whole family. But, before you take your child to visit their ill sibling, prepare your child for the visit so they know what to expect.
There are several things you can do to prepare your child:
Your child will have questions about why their sibling is sick. The child will probably ask if their sibling will get better. You can be ready by having a social worker, nurse, or doctor there before, during, and after the visit.
Your child may feel angry, scared, helpless, guilty, or jealous. These are normal feelings.
Often children do better than adults when visiting their ill sibling. Be sure your child does not have a cold, cough, or any other illness or infection when they visit.
Make sure to follow hand-washing and masking rules as well as other hospital safety rules.
Davidson JE, Aslakson RA, Long AC, et al. Guidelines for family-centered care in the neonatal, pediatric, and adult ICU. Crit Care Med. 2017;45(1):103-128. PMID: 27984278 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27984278/.
Kingsley J, Clark JD. Patient- and family-centered care in the pediatric intensive care unit. In: Zimmerman JJ, Clark RSB, Fuhrman BP, Rotta AT, et al. eds. Fuhrman and Zimmerman’s Pediatric Critical Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 16.
Kleiber C, Montgomery LA, Craft-Rosenberg M. Information needs of the siblings of critically ill children. Child Health Care. 1995;24(1):47-60. PMID: 10142085 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10142085/.
Ullrich C, Duncan J, Joselow M, Wolfe J. Pediatric palliative care. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 7.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 6/7/2022
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Health Content Provider
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2023 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.