Children cope better with surgery and recover faster when their families are informed and prepared. Providing care for thousands of children at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, we see proof of that every day.
It is normal for parents to feel anxious about an upcoming surgery or procedure. You are not alone in your worry. Knowledge — for both parents and children — can help relieve this anxiety.
The Pediatric Perioperative Surgical Home (PPSH) is here to guide you through each surgical step and help you and your child feel prepared. Through the nationally recognized Chase Child Life Program, we have Child Life Specialists available for children and families when they come for surgery or a procedure requiring anesthesia.
Parents want to protect their children. However, being secretive about an upcoming surgery can cause more anxiety for a child. Here are a few tips from our Child Life Specialists:
To help prepare your child, he or she can fill out our pre-surgery checklist. Download the PDF here.
Children process information differently at different developmental stages. A 4-year-old child has different concerns than a teenager does. Going to the hospital also affects each age group differently. For infants and toddlers, the disruption in routine may be distressing. Teenagers may be upset about the lack of privacy.
Read more of our age-appropriate surgery preparation tips to help your child cope with an upcoming surgery or procedure.
Surgery is challenging for the entire family. It can affect siblings’ routines and how available you are for them. It is not uncommon for siblings to have some regression or begin acting out to get attention when their brother or sister is in the hospital. Child Life Specialists are also available through our Chase Child Life Program to support siblings.
Read our tips for preparing siblings to help your child’s brothers and/or sisters cope with the surgery.
At UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, we see many children who have special needs. For a special needs child, hospitalization and procedures can be more challenging.
We work closely with families of special needs children, whether you are coming for a short procedure or a surgery. We know that the hospital environment can be very stressful for your child. We will do everything we can to accommodate you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
To contact a Child Life Specialist, please email [email protected]
Learn about what to do the day before your child’s surgery.
Learn more about myUCLAhealth