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How Can I Help in My Child’s Treatment?

It is our goal at Peninsula Hospital to provide quality patient care in a safe and secure therapeutic environment.  If you have any concerns about your child’s safety or the safety of other patients, please communicate your concerns to a Peninsula Hospital staff member.  You are an important part of your child’s recovery.  Your child needs you to be consistent, honest and predictable as you meet with him/her and treatment staff during his/her hospital stay. 

There are specific things that you can do to make your child’s hospitalization and treatment as effective as possible.  Some of the ways to increase positive effects of hospitalization are listed here:

Participate in and be on time for family therapy and/or scheduled visitation.

If you must cancel a scheduled appointment, call promptly to let the Therapist aware of your need to reschedule.  Your child often looks forward to visits or family therapy.  Cancellations or no-shows may cause additional stress during an already stressful time.

Be truthful in family therapy.

This can be difficult due to the fact that family problems are often not discussed outside the home.  We often tell children in the hospital that they “get out of family therapy what they put into it.”  Your efforts to be honest and to take the emotional risk to bring up difficult or sensitive issues in treatment will serve as an excellent role model for your child to do the same.

Be open and caring.

Your child may feel bad or ashamed as a result of the incidents/ behaviors that led to hospitalization.  Your sympathy and support can help your child
and the rest of the family.

Accept the problem.

Don’t ignore or explain away (minimize) your child’s symptoms.  Helping your child identify symptoms or problems assists him or her in the first stage toward change.

Learn the facts.

Read about Mental Illness.  You can ask your child’s family therapist or doctor for information about your child’s specific problems or treatment.  Ask questions if you don’t understand or are hearing about something for the first time.  Your interest and efforts to learn more shows your child that you care.  Educational materials are available to you at your request. The therapist will likely have materials for you to review when you meet for the family therapy session.

Begin to establish boundaries and structure for your child.

Some ways to do this are in keeping issues pertinent to family therapy out of visitation discussions, and by leaving if visitation becomes disruptive.  By enforcing hospital rules, you establish structure and help your child to feel more safe and secure.  You also set a pattern for structure in the home once you child returns home.

Get professional help.

Because Mental Illness is a family problem it is often difficult to differentiate between your child’s problems and your own problems.  This is a difficult time for you and your family.  You may consider seeking professional help for yourself to address your own issues or to receive support during this difficult time.  Ask your child’s family therapist for additional information about services that may be available to you. 


Teaching your child to take responsibility for their actions is important during their hospitalization. If your child has difficulty with following specific guidelines, he or she may be expected to either talk with or write to staff about a better way to act in the future.  This helps to teach your child how to think before he/she acts.

Give feedback to hospital staff.

Take every opportunity to let hospital staff know how you think that your child is doing.  Make staff aware of your goals and expectations for your child’s treatment. 

At discharge, you will receive a Family Satisfaction Survey to complete about the care your child has received. Our goal is to provide your child with excellent care.  That would be a 5 on the survey scale.  We want that 5!  Please let us know if there is anything we are not doing now that would make sure you give us a 5. 

We take your comments seriously and have used suggestions from families to make our services better fit the needs of our families.  We also enjoy hearing compliments and comments before that time.  Please direct all comments through your Discharge Planner, Nurse, or Therapist.

After Your Child is Discharged from the Hospital

It is important that the family stay involved in the child’s continuing treatment.  After discharge from the Hospital, the following symptoms/behaviors should alert you to action:

  • isolation from family and friends
  • behavior problems at school or home
  • unexplained scratches or marks on your child
  • change in sleep habits
  • change in eating habits
  • dramatic mood swings