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Children who are close to someone who is critically ill may wish to visit. Usually, a child who is ready to visit will ask. Parents are generally the best judge of whether or not a child is ready to visit. Prior to visiting, it is very important to take the time to properly prepare a child for the visit. Please speak to the nurse at the bedside or the Social Worker so that the visit can be planned and the child can be given the support that is required.
It is natural for adults to try to protect children from painful situations. As much as we might want to shield them from sad experiences, children know when something is wrong. If the truth is kept from children, they will often imagine far worse situations than they may really be facing. The best way to talk to children about an illness in the family is to be open and honest about your own feelings. Encourage them to talk about their fears.
A visit to the bedside is often less scary than the child's imagination.
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Last Reviewed: October 23, 2014