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Sibling Support

The hospitalization of a patient can be unexpected, traumatic and sometimes frightening for family members. In addition to providing psychosocial and developmental support to patients, the Child Life specialists AND Creative Art Therapists at Cohen Children's Medical Center also help siblings of various ages understand and cope with the hospitalization of a family member.

Our team is available to assist siblings and family members directly at the hospital or by offering suggestions for coping at home. The Child Life staff at Cohen Children's Medical Center can offer suggestions and answer questions, prior to a patient's hospitalization.

Please check with your nurse on your inpatient unit for regulations and age restrictions on visits by siblings. Sometimes siblings of hospitalized patients have many feelings or questions about a sister or brother who is diagnosed with an illness, having surgery or undergoing treatment. Please contact your Child Life Specialist for assistance with education, preparation or emotional support to siblings of hospitalized children.

Helpful tips for siblings:

  • Talk to siblings in an open and honest manner to help alleviate fears about the hospitalization.
  • Have siblings help prepare for upcoming admission by, having them help pack, make artwork and cards and ride to the hospital with a patient if possible.
  • Allow siblings to visit if possible in person and via the internet. Child Life staff can prepare, answer questions, and assist siblings prior to, during and after visit.
  • Read books about hospitals to children (please see suggested reading resources). Young children may benefit from coloring books/pages related to hospitalization.
  • Try to keep daily routines as normal as possible.
  • To help assist with coping, encourage sibling to play and continue normal activities with families, routines and people.

NICU Sibling program

Sibling visitation is an important aspect of family centered perinatal care. Visiting information will be available to all parents of NICU patients. Parents will determine if a visit is appropriate for the sibling and discuss any visitation concerns with their infant’s Nurse, Physician, Nurse Practitioner, and / or Child Life Specialist.

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