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How can I shorten my child's hospital stay?

Your first mission? Ask if your child can be an outpatient. Happily, pediatric medicine has evolved to the point where same-day surgery is now common for many procedures that used to require a night or five in the hospital. These include tonsillectomies, ear-tube surgery (myringotomy), and hernia repairs. In addition to better surgical techniques, we can thank newer, short-acting anesthesia that allows patients to walk out of the hospital hours after surgery. If your child can be treated and released in the same day and sleep in his own (freshly laundered) bed that night, everyone will be happier.

Every hour any child spends in a hospital increases the risk that something will go wrong. Your child could pick up a nasty infection from a rogue supergerm or get the wrong treatment or drug. While it’s good to know that the vast majority of errors don’t result in serious problems, they can slow healing or cause extra pain or discomfort for your child, and extra stress for you, too. Getting in and out as quickly as possible is the best strategy. Less stress, fewer risks, lower costs, and getting top-notch hospital care on an outpatient basis is almost always a win-win-win.

That said, if your child needs to stay in the hospital overnight or longer, don’t freak. It can be the best place for kids who require hospital-strength care and attention.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.