Teens are mainly concerned with friends and body image. Changes in their body and sexuality are issues of great importance. Teens are self-centered and believe "it can't happen to me." Rebellion against authority is another marker of being a teenager.
Common hospital concerns of teens include dependence on adults; separation from family and friends; bodily injury and pain; body image and sexuality; invasion of privacy; and status with friends after hospitalization. The following ideas can help parents and caregivers during their teen's hospital stay.
- Bring familiar objects such as a blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, music, movies and clothing.
- Listen to favorite music.
- Watch favorite movies.
- Play board games.
- Play card games.
- Play video games.
- Participate in group activities such as art, cooking and games with other patients.
- Write in a journal.
- Create a scrapbook.
- Write poems and stories.
- Use a computer.
- Write stories and poems about the hospital.
- Make sculptures with casting material.
- Create artwork and music with medical themes.
- Explore real medical equipment.
- Include your teen in discussions and decisions about his or her health when possible.
- Encourage your teen to ask questions about the hospital, procedures and treatment.
- Allow and support your teen's privacy.
- Provide privacy.
- Respect independence.
- Provide choices when possible.
- Encourage friends to visit.
- Pick a favorite place or thing to talk about or imagine.
- Play music on a portable CD or tape player.
- Play a hand-held game.
- Breathe with slow deep breaths.
- Relax muscles.
- Squeeze a ball.
- Talk on the phone with family and friends.