Spending the night at the hospital can be a scary experience for children. It can also be a stressful experience for parents – not knowing if your child is going to be okay spending a night away from home. If you are faced with the reality of having to admit your child into the hospital, you should consider making use of the services offered by day hospitals.

Bibi Goss-Ross, group operational manager at Advanced Health, which runs a network of day hospitals around the country, says that most parents are not aware that a day hospital is a viable option for children in many surgical cases.  “The concept of day hospitals is still relatively new locally but people are beginning to wake up to this convenient and cost-effective healthcare service option.”

Day hospitals are equipped to treat most of the common ailments that affect children. Most surgical procedures can be carried out at day hospitals facilities, for example, general surgery, dental and maxillo facial procedures, ear, nose and throat procedures, orthopaedic, pain management, ophthalmology and urology. Day hospitals function like bigger hospitals, but they are much smaller and differ from clinics.

“It is important to emphasise that day hospitals should not be confused with conventional clinics. Day hospitals are specially designed to function like the larger hospitals with state-of-the-art theatre equipment and highly trained staff appropriate for the suite of surgical procedures that are regularly undertaken at these facilities. Children making use of these facilities benefit from quality care supported by caring staff and dedicated specialists using modern technology in a family-type warm atmosphere,” says Goss-Ross.

No Overnight Stays

Day hospitals are, as the name suggests, used solely for medical procedures that do not require overnight hospital stays. Having to sleep in a strange environment, without their parents, can be a distressing experience for children. At day hospitals, children can return home after their procedure once the doctor is sure that there will be no complications. Even if the doctor orders bed rest, relaxing in the home environment with someone to look after them encourages healing and reduces stress. Another critical factor to consider is the risk of infection which is significantly reduced in day hospitals due to shorter stays. Patients leave the hospital with a firm and agreed plan in place.

Friendlier Environment

Day hospitals tend to be relatively small, with fewer staff and patients. Since day hospitals do not treat patients with chronic illnesses and high risks (as they usually require overnight stays), the atmosphere is lighter, something which children pick up on fairly quickly.

The short-stay and effective nursing care improve the overall clinical outcome of a patient. The smaller intimate environment is beneficial to the patients – especially young children.

No Long Waiting Period

Many of us are familiar with arriving at the hospital early in the morning only to wait for hours before the medical procedure takes place. No one likes to wait for hours in a hospital, and waiting with children can be unbearable. Day hospitals are equipped to minimise waiting times, meaning that children will be in and out of the ward much faster than they would be at a larger hospital.

Peace of Mind

The combination of the fear of the unknown, a hospital’s overwhelming size, the number of people, the treatment itself, and the possibility of parting with the parent may contribute to extreme anxiety in any child.  Psychologists have long stressed the importance of a relaxing environment for children’s emotional health and well-being, and extreme anxiety can have a lasting impact on your child’s recovery.  Doctors have also noted that people do not heal as well physically when they are under mental duress, and in the case of children, this may be particularly important. As children’s immune systems are still developing, severe mental stress can further compromise their body’s ability to protect itself from post-surgical infection, prolonging and possibly complicating physical healing. The more relaxed environment of day hospitals aims to lessen this anxiety and promote healing in children undergoing operative procedures.

Advanced Health

Advanced Health is a provider of day surgery services at extremely competitive rates for patients and medical schemes through its network of day hospitals. Modern, compact and well-equipped day hospitals are modern healthcare facilities providing short-procedure surgical services and diagnostic procedures which need to be performed in a sterile environment on a same-day basis. More than 70 percent of all surgical interventions can be performed on a same-day basis in day hospitals. All day-hospital facilities are developed in partnership with participating medical practitioners to ensure that medical quality and technology objectives are met, with Advanced Health adding value by concentrating on overall management, staff and increased efficiencies through central services such as information technology and accounting.

For information on Advanced Health’s day hospitals, visit www.advancedhealth.co.za.