The Family Teaching Program

Guiding Your Child Through Their Operative Experience

Children and mother talk to doctor at the Family Teaching Program at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's HospitalA visit to the hospital can be stressful for the entire family. Our team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and child life specialists will work with you to do everything possible to make your visit the best that it can be.

As a part of the Child Life Program, the Family Teaching Program helps prepare parents and children for upcoming surgery. The program educates pediatric patients and their families on what to bring to the hospital on the day of surgery, explains what will happen when they arrive, and eases the stress of the surgical experience. We also educate parents and caregivers on how to prepare their child for their upcoming surgery in an age-appropriate way.

During times when visitation to the hospital is restricted, the Family Teaching Program offers virtual teaching sessions/tours. These virtual sessions offer the same opportunities for learning as the in-person classes.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Family Teaching Program.

Who should attend the family teaching program?

Any child having surgery at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, along with their parent, is welcome to attend the Family Teaching Program prior to the day of surgery. Patients and families having surgery at the hospital are encouraged to attend a pre-operative teaching session.

What will we learn?

We teach your child about what to bring to the hospital on the day of surgery and what will happen when they arrive. Children learn about their surgery and hospital stay through age-appropriate activities and medical play.

Child Life Specialists use hands-on teaching tools, real monitors and medical equipment, to teach the child about the surgery, what is going to happen in the operating room and what to expect during the entire hospital stay.

We also prepare your child for going off to sleep before the surgery, and what will happen when they wake up. Teaching sessions allow time for questions and a lot of hands-on learning.

Patients and families also have the opportunity to take a tour of the pre-operative area and the recovery room.

Why should I attend a teaching session with my child?

We have found that patients and parents who attend our sessions are much better prepared for what to expect on the day of surgery. Children know what will happen when they arrive at the hospital and this knowledge helps take away some of the fear of the unknown on the day of surgery. Each session is designed to specifically meet your child’s individual needs and ease the fears of the upcoming surgical experience.

Sessions include age-appropriate education and a tour of the pre-operative area. Seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and playing with the equipment they will see the day of the surgery can be a fun and safe way for your child to learn about what to expect.

Parents have told us that they also felt more comfortable knowing what to expect on the day of surgery and were better able to prepare their children because they had answers to their questions. Many of the parents who have attended classes have recommended it to other parents.

When are the teaching sessions held?

Classes are held on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and during the week by appointment.

Classes are designed to meet your child’s individual needs, so in order to ensure the best experience, please call to schedule an appointment in advance.

Where are the classes held?

Classes are virtual. When you schedule an appointment, we will send you a GoToMeeting link.

How do I make an appointment for a class?

You may use this form to request an appointment or call (732) 418-8045.

Is there a fee for the class?

No, the classes are free of charge.

Can I go with my child into the operating room?

We understand that you, as a parent, are the greatest source of comfort to your child. Usually, our program gives you the opportunity to be with your child in the operating room for the beginning of anesthesia with approval from your child’s surgeon and anesthesiologist. However, due to the pandemic, visitor restrictions may be in place that may affect this policy. Please visit our Visitation Guidelines for the most current information.

Contact us for more information about our Family Teaching Program or request an appointment.

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