Visiting your brother or sister at the hospital

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This page has advice for kids visiting a brother or sister in the hospital.

Key points

  • You may see a lot of things such as equipment and machines at the hospital that you have never seen before.
  • You may have a lot of questions about what is happening to your sibling. This is okay, it is a good idea to ask questions and talk about your worries.
  • Think of something that you can do for your sibling that will help them feel more at home.

What to expect and how you can help

This page explains what to expect when you are visiting your brother or sister in the hospital. It also explains what you can do to help your brother or sister get well.

Fill in the blanks

My name is ____________________ .

I am __________ years old.

My brother or sister's name is ____________________ .

They are __________ years old.

These pages have ideas for things to do for your brother or sister, and yourself, too. If there is anything you want to know more about, you can ask the nurses and doctors. It is their job to answer your questions.

Things you may see at the  hospital An IV pole, stethoscope, thermometer, wheelchair and syringes and needles
ask about any of these things if you have questions about them.

At the hospital

The hospital can be a strange place at first. You might see things you have never seen before. You may also hear people using words you have not heard before. As time goes on, you will get more comfortable being at the hospital visiting your brother or sister.

People at the hospital

Lots of people are looking after your brother or sister. Part of what they do is to let you and your family know what is happening with your brother or sister.

At the hospital, a team of people are helping your brother or sister get well.

You are a very important part of this team, because how people feel can help them get better. When people feel happy, wanted and missed, they tend to get better faster. If you can help your brother or sister feel happier, you are helping them get better.

Your feelings

Having a brother or sister in the hospital can make you and others in the family worry about things. Often, kids ask themselves these questions:

  • What is happening to my brother/sister?
  • Is he/she going to get better?
  • Is it my fault?
  • Could it happen to me, too?
  • Who will take care of me?
  • What will I tell people at school?

If you have asked yourself any of these questions, do not worry. These questions are normal.

It is a good idea to talk about these worries and ask any questions you may have. Sometimes people feel afraid to tell their family what they are worried about. Even though there are some things that are hard to talk about, it usually feels better after you have talked about them. You will probably even find out that other people have the same feelings as you do.

Child life specialists and social workers are great people to talk to about how you feel.

You can also write in a journal or diary or do some art work to help with how you are feeling.

What you can do to help your brother or sister get better

What kinds of things do you and your brother or sister like to do together? Can you do any of these things in the hospital?

Some kids say they felt better when they did things that made the hospital feel like home.

Here are some ideas you can do to help you and your brother or sister feel more comfortable and have fun. It is an important job.

  • Paint, draw or do arts and crafts to help decorate your brother or sister's room.
  • Write a story or a letter to say how you are feeling or how things are going at home. Make sure you tell your brother or sister about new things that are happening in your neighbourhood or at home. If your family has pets, your brother or sister will want to know how they are doing too.
  • Gather up some toys, books, music or videos that your brother or sister would like to have in their hospital room. Sharing a special toy or game with your brother or sister might make them feel better.
  • Choose a toy or something of your own that has helped you feel better and that might help your brother or sister feel better too.
  • Send a special picture or photo along with a note.
  • Make an audio or video recording of yourself talking, telling a story, taking a walk or doing something that your brother or sister would like to do.
  • Call your brother or sister on the phone.
  • Tell your brother or sister that they are missed at home.
  • You can make up your own ideas too.

Your space

You can use this space to write questions you would like to ask, or any new feelings you might have.

Here are some feeling faces. When you think about your brother or sister, how do you feel?

Faces pain scale
Last updated: March 17th 2010