Every 15 minutes, a family learns that their child has congenital heart disease (CHD), and they are suddenly thrust into a world they weren’t expecting. Knowing that you are going to give birth to a child with a heart defect comes with complicated feelings ranging from guilt, fear, sadness, shame, and confusion. Many people don’t know what to do with the amount of overwhelming information they receive from doctors due to the little CHD awareness across the globe.
However, with proper support, care, and expert advice, parents, guardians, and caregivers can navigate these stressful times and help their loved ones live a happy, healthy and productive life. If you have a child diagnosed with CHD, here are a few tips to care for them.
Learn as Much as You Can
Your first step to giving your child the care they deserve is knowing the challenges your child might have and what to do about them. Depending on the severity of the condition and type of CHD your child has, you can get useful information to help your child cope and live a normal life. Consult health journals and reports to know how best to assist your child.
Caring for a child with a congenital heart defect requires psychological, social, and financial support. You cannot do everything on your own. Accept help and support from family and friends and take regular breaks for yourself to help keep your mental health in optimal condition. Other people who be involved in the medical sector, include psychologists, speech therapists, and social workers.
Prepare Yourself and Your Child for Regular Hospital Visits
You should expect to take many trips to the hospital for procedures, surgeries, tests, and follow-up care. It’s normal to feel anxious and worried about your child being in hospital. To help ease your fear, ask questions about the procedures and tests. The general surgery or treatment may involve:
- Receiving intravenous IV fluids till the child wakes up after the surgery and eat
- Draining fluids from the chest after surgery
- Measuring oxygen and pressure within the body
- Frequently making adjustments to make breathing easier
Help Your Child Cope With Oxygen Problems
If your child is experiencing oxygen deficiency, they probably have cyanotic defects. That means your child’s body is not getting the correct amount of oxygen. Children with cyanosis often have a bluish tint on their skin, often known as “blue spells.”
If your child has blue spells, attempt to calm them using their favorite toys or singing their favorite song. Try placing the child with their knees on their chest. You can pull them to an upright sitting position with their chest to the knees. If the spells are severe, give your child oxygen. Your doctor should communicate the proper amount of oxygen required.
Care for Other Children in the Family
If there are siblings in the family, take their needs into consideration. Other children, especially the younger ones, might feel left out when all the attention is given to the sick sibling. Talk to them and listen to their fears about their sibling’s condition. They could be dealing with other mental issues that you might not notice. Give each child some time to be close to you and spend other times together as a family.