Parents sidelined in children hospitals
Children generally hate to go to hospitals. Parents most often have the difficult task to explain the children the necessity of going to hospital and in most cases and in most countries one of them would stay with the children. In many countries, like Hungary, one of the parents would also stay for the night (sometimes sleeping on a chair besides the child).
Let us not focus this time on the emotional condition of the child, but on the situation of the parent. When arriving at the hospital, often parents and children have to wait a long time for their turn to fill out the medical forms before the child is admitted in hospital. Then a new waiting period comes until a nurse will arrive to bring child and parent to the room, where a bed is waiting for the child. Depending on type and progress of sickness as well as availability of beds, the child will spend some days in the hospital with the parent at his/her side. This is nearly always a most difficult time for the parent, because not only need the problems at home to be solved (who is taking care of the other children), but foremost the great concern for the child at his/her side.
Parents try to uplift the soul of their children in hospitals. This is in most cases without any good result, because the children may realize quite well the good intentions of the parents, but cleverly or unconsciously are able to distinguish between intention and fact.
From time to time, busy doctors and nurses come and go and have not often time to answer the many questions raised by the children and/or the parents. This situation of uncertainty will further increase the feelings of distress and agony. What could be done to alleviate the suffering of the parent?
The Smiling Hospital Foundation has about 300 volunteers in Hungary. One of the tasks is to talk to the parents in hospitals. Of course, the main concentration is to help the child by uplifting the soul through an artistic performance (musical, magical, through puppeteers, etc.). But an additional goal is to talk to the parents and to give a chance to the parents to vent their frustration and explain the problems they are confronted with at home and in the hospitals. The goal here is not to solve any of the problems of the parent, but to show the parent that someone is listening at least to all their frustrations, problems, worries and anxieties.
The volunteers of the Smiling Hospital Foundation are taking this task upon them and do a wonderful job. One could therefore say that the volunteers of this beautiful Foundation not only concentrate to lift up the souls of children in hospitals, but also try to lighten the souls of parents with their entertainment programs and listening/conversing capabilities. In fact, we often hear that this role is expanded also towards the doctors and medical staff in charge of the child.