Nicole Yori, a parent and blogger, once wrote an article entitled, “There’s No ‘What to Expect When Your Kid Goes to the Psych Unit’.” It’s an insightful piece that details the difficult and unknown aspects of parenting a child with bipolar disorder. And, as Ms. Yori’s title suggests, when a child is admitted to the Pediatric Psychiatric Inpatient Unit for emergency treatment, the visit is quite unexpected. Families are often unprepared for the coming days.
The ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (“the unit”) provides short-term care for children and adolescents, ages 6 to 18, who are at risk of harming themselves or others, or who are experiencing acute thought difficulties. Children stay an average of five to seven days in the unit. Due to the nature of the illness, there are restrictions on items that can be brought into the unit. For instance, clothing cannot have strings, and no outside stuffed animals are permitted.
It is not uncommon for a child to remain at the unit for five days with only the clothes they were wearing when they arrived. Unlike other hospital floors, patients on the unit are expected to wear regular clothes throughout their stay. Children are admitted because their illness requires immediate medical treatment. Parents are often unable to pack clothes before rushing to the hospital. Many patients live a significant distance away from the hospital, have multiple siblings, or other family circumstances that limit the parent’s ability to bring items to the hospital. Additionally, due to the nature of the illness, clothing can become soiled frequently during the child’s treatment. If the child’s clothing becomes soiled, the child must resort to wearing hospital gowns/scrubs.
Requested Items for Patients & Hospital
The ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital (TCH), Family Advisory Council (FAC) is seeking donations of items to help comfort children who are receiving treatment from the Inpatient Child Psychiatric Unit at TCH. The FAC is comprised of parents and caregivers of children who receive treatment at the hospital, and who seek to improve the quality of care all patients and families receive.
An extended stay at the hospital is intimidating, especially to a child who is ill. Please help us to make this treatment more comforting for our patients. We are seeking donations for the following clothing items, in sizes for children ages 6 to 18: Underwear, sweatpants without strings, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, pajama pants without strings, and slippers.
We are also seeking board and card games; stuffed animals without ties or strings; journals without spiral binding; age appropriate books; and coloring books and crayons to enrich the child’s stay on the unit. These items will be gifted to the child at discharge as we are unable to reuse items in the hospital setting.
In addition to the items which will help the individual child, the unit is also in need of the following items which will remain on the unit, and will assist in treatment: flat screen television and mounting hardware; stackable washer/dryer; large soft shapes or peanut shapes; exercise ball with stand; padded floor mats; and a large area rug.
To make a donation or for additional questions, please contact me at TCHFAC@promedica.org.
Aurora Dayne is the chairperson of the Family Advisory Council at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital where she works to foster communication and relationships between patients, their families and caregivers.