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What to tell kids when a loved one is ill or in the hospital

When a loved one in the family is in the hospital or dealing with a chronic illness it can be hard to know what to say to the youngest family members.  It’s natural to want to “protect” them by not telling them or talking to them, but chances are the kids already know that something is going on.  An honest conversation can help to ease any misunderstanding they may have. 

Here are some important areas to cover when navigating a discussion about the illness or hospitalization of a loved one:

  • Honesty – Use words and descriptions that are appropriate for their age. If they are older they may ask specific details about the illness.  It’s good to call the diagnosis by name.  They may come back at a later date with other questions or even ask the same questions more than once. 
  • "Can I catch it?" – Children often have the fear that they can “catch” illnesses. They need to know, if in fact it isn’t a contagious disease, that they can not catch the illness from their loved one by being near them, hugging them and visiting with them.  This is particularly important if it is a brother or sister who is ill.
  • "Did I cause this?" – Many ....

What to expect when your child is in the Pediatric ICU (PICU)

Just the mere mention of the Pediatric ICU (PICU) can be frightening to both kids and parents.  But having a basic understanding of what people and equipment can be found in the PICU can help to lessen the anxiety.

What is the PICU?

The PICU at Swedish is a section of the hospital that provides the highest level of medical care for your child (0 to 18 years).  The PICU is different than just the regular pediatric floor because it allows for more intensive nursing care of your child and advanced continuous monitoring of their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and more.  Patients in the PICU may also require more intensive therapies such as ventilators (a breathing machine) and certain medications that require close monitoring.

Who is hospitalized in the PICU?

Kids who are seriously ill whose medical needs cannot be met on the regular Pediatric unit will be in the PICU.  PICU patients may have breathing problems such as asthma or pneumonia, have had a lengthy surgery, have seizures or any other physical condition.  Time spent in the PICU depends on....

What is aphasia?

Stroke patients often suffer from communication challenges called aphasia.  Aphasia is complex and there are many potential communication challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Trouble speaking – this may be displayed as hesitancy or stuttering, use of words that seem out of context, or the inability to speak at all (mute)
  • Trouble finding words – inability to put thoughts into words
  • Problems understanding what others say
  • Problems with reading, writing, or math
  • Inability to process long words and infrequently used words

This is often frustrating for the patient and their care partners.  It is important to remember that aphasia is related to the ability to communicate and does not reflect a change in intelligence.

There are several great resources for patients living with aphasia and their care partners:

Stocking a Fatigue-Fighting Pantry for Multiple Sclerosis

Most people have experienced feeling too tired to prepare a meal, or the comfortable convenience of fast food options. For many people with multiple sclerosis (MS), fatigue can be a persistent issue that leaves them feeling without a choice.

However, a little planning can make preparing healthy, fatigue-fighting meals possible. A small amount of preparation every week can go a long way in saving you time and energy and allow you to eat healthfully all week long. Start by sitting down each week and make a meal plan.

Here are some nutritious, easily prepared food ideas to consider to putting on your shopping list:

Wheezing in children

Wheezing is one of the most common symptoms in children and adults. Wheezing refers to the high pitched, "musical" sounds generated from the respiratory tract. It may originate in multiple areas, from the nose, to the throat, to the lungs. When physicians use the term "wheezing", they are usually indicating the sounds produced by tightness in the lower airways ("bronchial tubes").

Wheezing is especially important in pediatrics because children have frequent respiratory infections. These infections are generally caused by viral infections which cause much irritation in the airways. In addition, the airways of children are small and more "sensitive," predisposing them to wheezing. The location of the irritation may be in the upper or lower respiratory tract. This means that wheezing can occur with just a cold as well as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Wheezing in most children will respond to treatment with ...

Swedish Disseminates Information Intended to Educate, Clarify Medicare Charge Data, Related Questions

SEATTLE, June 24, 2013 - As part of the Obama administration’s work to make the United States health-care system more affordable and accountable, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released 2011 data in early May that shows significant variation across the country and within communities in what providers charge for common services. These data include information comparing the charges for the 100 most common inpatient services and 30 common outpatient services.  Providers determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these charges are the average amount the providers bill for an item or service. The following information is intended to help patients and family members better understand this complicated topic.

Nutrition for MS fatigue: Tips for planning and preparing healthy meals

Planning and preparing healthy meals can be challenging for anyone. When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), fatigue can be another obstacle preventing you from packing healthy snacks or fixing a home-cooked dinner.

Eating healthy foods can help you fight fatigue and avoid the crash you may experience after eating fast food and sugary drinks. Here are a few tips to make food shopping and cooking more efficient and manageable so that a healthy diet can fit into your lifestyle:

  1. Make a game plan

    Take a few minutes every week to map out some easy dinners for the week. Choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time, will store well and will produce leftovers that can be packed for the following day’s lunch or repurposed for another meal.

    Brainstorm ....
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