Medication – Quick tips & Advice for Parents

7 Nov

For many caregivers, the thought of using medical strength medications (often called meds) on children can be somewhat nerve-wracking. Question such as: “WHAT were those pills called again?” .. “HOW much did the nurse say she was planning to give my child?” .. “Is this medication REALLY necessary?” or  ”What if my child just doesn’t want to take it?” are just some of the common questions parents often ask. Below are a few quick tips that can take the pressure off of stressful medicine related situations.

Bring comfort items from home: These items can be life savers in a tense situation, especially when a child is feeling scared about a new hospital environment or upcoming test/procedure. Through my work as a Child Life Therapist, I’ve found that a comforted child soothed by a familiar security or play item, may require less anti-anxiety/or calming medicine during a
hospital stay or prior to a procedure.

Involvement: For older school-aged children and adolescents, getting them involved in their care through honest conversations and decision making (when possible) can be a great way to have them “buy into” and take ownership of their treatment. This is also helpful for a child who is refusing to take their medication.

Talk it Out: Ask medical staff to take a moment and explain to your child (depending on age) the medicine’s “job,” how it will work in their bodies, why its necessary, and how long will it be have to be taken. This is a great way to again, get children involved. They are more likely to cooperate with medicine taking if they have some information, as opposed to simply forcing it in their mouths or making them hold still for an IV because “I said so.” Also, by participating in the conversation, caregivers have the opportunity to also ask questions while getting a better sense of what their child understands as well.

Preparation: For some tests or procedures, depending on the age of the child, with enough preparation (such as medical play therapy) and parental support in the room, some children are able to remain calm enough where medications such as anesthesia (medicine used to cause children to sleep during procedures) are not necessary at all. Check in with your doctor, nurse, or Child Life Therapist to see if perhaps this is the case for your child.

Overall, while completely avoiding medication during a hospital stay can be very difficult, if not impossible, these four tips can help give you and your child choices and begin certain discussions with your medical team about medications.

*original image from (google images)

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