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Child and Adolescent unit's care highlighted in Rise Above essay

09/17/19 04:14:pm

Rogers team members were invited to submit statements and stories about what it means to help patients rise above the challenges of mental illness and how they and their colleagues help Rogers set the standard for behavioral health care. The following essay was written by Elizabeth Erin Young, RN:

elizabeth young_s.jpgChildren who find themselves for the first time on the Child and Adolescent unit at Rogers Behavioral Healthcare feel confused at best, and terrified at worst. They are being separated from all the people who they have some degree of trust in. They are expected to understand what is happening to them as not a punishment, but instead an act of love and sacrifice from those who love and care for them.

Being a nurse providing care to these children, it is my responsibility make sure they know without doubt that they will be cared for. Many children who find themselves in my care are coming from situations where they have endured unthinkable trauma and sadness. They have in many cases taken on the role of caregiver and secret keeper of the responsible guardians. Many of these children have been unable to build trusting relationships with their caregivers. They have become reliant only on their instinct of survival and self-preservation.

Many times, under these circumstances, children are unable to develop emotionally congruent with their physical age. Behaviors exhibited are often extreme, both in regressive behaviors and precocious behaviors.

Caring for these children means asking them to put trust in you as a caregiver. This first step is monumental in creating a structured environment where limits can be enforced without creating fear and abstinent behaviors.

Our job as caregivers in the inpatient environment is to ensure that these children are advised of the goals of their stay in the hospital. Goals that often includes medication stabilization and behavior modification. Setting achievable goals and giving encouragement for all successes. But, probably more important is allowing the child to fail sometimes, and still be accepted and cared for without judgment.

Family members also need to be respected and treated without judgment. Each child is a member of a family unit that is obviously in need of caring and structure to move forward. Our job is to support them as they struggle through difficult situations and allow them to realize their solutions.

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