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Acta Clin Croat. 2009 Jun;48(2):125-35.

Emotions and experiences of hospitalized school age patients.

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University Department of Pediatrics, Sestre milosrdnice University Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia.


The aim of the study was to assess how children and adolescents experience hospitalization and separation from their parents, their home and daily activities, in order to improve the psychosocial quality of hospital stay. Emotions and experiences reported by hospitalized children and adolescents are presented and discussed. First, the concept of fear, the areas of children's interests and their attitude towards staying at hospital for treatment are interpreted. Second, the methods used by medical staff to help children cope with this situation are pointed out. These methods include: 1) allowing parents to be near their children throughout the course of treatment; 2) providing a safe, cheerful, and helpful environment; and 3) giving children opportunities to learn and play. The program entitled For a Child's Smile in Hospital, launched at University Department of Pediatrics, Sestre milosrdnice University Hospital, is presented. It is pointed out that giving children emotional support and information they can understand, and involving them in various activities can increase the children's positive interpretation of their disease and their stay at hospital, while also providing an insight into their self-concept as well as other thoughts and feelings. In addition, a review of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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