Getting ready for your operation with Helen
Whatever your age, going into hospital for an operation can be a bit frightening. Have you heard the saying "fear of the unknown?" Well, it's partly that. Helen helps children and young people feel more relaxed about with about their operations.
To help children and young people understand more about their operations, they can visit us a few weeks beforehand to spend some time with Helen Costello, our Senior Play Specialist.
Helen's great fun, she explains things to children and young people in ways they can understand using these methods:
- Drawing/ Pictures
- Role play
"The first thing we do is to make a body outline," Helen says. "We talk about the different parts of the body, but focus on the relevant one. For example, if a child or young person is coming in for a heart operation, we'll talk about what the heart does, explaining that sometimes the heart doesn't work as well as it should, which is why they need to have an operation."
Helen explains to children and young people that the operation will try to make them healthy again and they may feel poorly before they feel better, after the operation.
- Takes children and young people to the ward where they’ll stay while they’re with us
- Explains what will happen when they arrive on the ward and help them unpack their suitcase
- Explains that they’ll be put to sleep during the operation so that doctors can try and make them better – she does this using conversation and role play
- Lets children and young people know what will happen when they wake up from their operation and that they’ll be on our Intensive Care unit for a little while - which is where people go when the need extra special care
Showing children and young people what will happen when they come for their operation makes them feel more relaxed about it. Although they might still be a little bit anxious, it won't be as strange to them as it would have been if they’d not had a look round and spent time with Helen.