Siblings of a hospitalized child often have a mixture of emotions that can cause struggles in their coping skills. There can be a lot of confusion, jealousy, sadness, and anger, along with loneliness and separation anxiety. The focus and attention tend to be on the child that is ill, leaving the healthy children to navigate this medical journey that impacts the whole family. Parents and caregivers are also overwhelmed and need additional support for themselves and the rest of their family.
I’m delighted to introduce a former student of mine, Jessica Torres who is helping to fill this large gap in service by creating a sibling support workbook.
Guest Blogger, Jessica Torres, MS, CCLS
During my internship, I noticed a gap in service that I felt passionate about regarding the patient’s siblings. Due to infection control, the hospital does not allow visitors under the age of 13. There were so many patients who spoke to me about missing their siblings. I also had parents asking how to speak to their children at home about why their sibling was in the hospital and why they were unable to visit. Immediately I went searching the internet for resources and I was unable to find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to create my own.
While creating this sibling booklet I focused on making sure siblings felt included and can really understand what occurs in a hospital. It provides a space for children to express themselves, learn about different aspects of the hospital, do fun activities to share with their hospitalized sibling, and opportunities to build their bond/relationship despite their separation. It was also important for me to include parents and caregivers, which is why I included a letter prompted to them. It highlights how this book can help open the conversation for them to speak with their children about why their brother or sister is in the hospital and explain their illness or diagnosis. My goal is for caregivers and child life specialists to really utilize this unique booklet to support and empower the voices of the siblings.
Be sure to learn more about Jessica’s child life journey, by following her blog
We will be giving away a free PDF copy to one lucky winner. Choose one or more ways to enter: