At Benefis, we are committed to providing children with the special care they need from experts in virtually every area of children's health. Benefis recognizes that children are not just little adults. Their healthcare requires special doctors, nurses and treatment. About 13,000 children from Montana receive treatment at Benefis.
Our commitment to helping children is evident in the child-friendly environment that permeates the entire hospital and in the special training of staff and physicians to provide the necessary care and support for children and their families. For instance, the newly remodeled Pediatrics Unit on the 6th Floor of Benefis East Campus South Tower, was designed with young patients in mind. The entire facility combines light and art to create a total healing environment and every room is private.
Benefis knows children's health needs go beyond their physical concerns. In order to care for a child, the whole family must be involved. And, when a child is sick or hurt, the family needs support and care too. That's why we focus on the entire family.
Our family-focused care includes keeping kids and their families together. Our rooms are all-private and are designed to allow a parent to stay overnight with his or her child. The Pediatrics Unit features a family break room equipped with a washer and dryer, microwave, coffee machine and refrigerator, making it convenient for visitors to stay with patients receiving care for longer periods of time.
Preparing Your Child for a Visit
There may be a time when your child needs medical care outside the doctor's office. He or she may need a laboratory test, an X-ray, outpatient surgery or a visit to the emergency room. At some point, your child may even need to stay overnight at the hospital.
Benefis recognizes the unique needs of children and their families. We hope the following information will help you prepare your child for a health care experience. Remember, the best thing you can do is provide support for your child before, during and after the visit.
General Medical Care
Benefis Pediatric Services has developed the following information to help prepare you and your child for a health care experience. If you have any questions, please call 406.455.5000 to speak with one of our specialists on the Pediatrics floor. Our specialists are here to help support your child's emotional, social and developmental needs related to a medical encounter.
- Timing is important. The amount of time between telling your child and the actual visit might affect the amount of "worry time."
- Explain the reason for the visit in a simple, truthful manner, using words your child will understand.
- Tell your child what will happen. Information about many tests or procedures is available through your doctor's office. This information will make it easier for you to explain the test or procedure to your child. You might also want to ask your doctor to spend a few minutes with your child to explain what to expect.
- Use the five senses when describing these events: what they will see, hear, smell, feel and taste.
- Be prepared to answer questions such as How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can you stay with me? Is it my fault I need these tests? Some children may think they are being punished for something they've done wrong.
- Tell your child it is OK to cry or be scared. Reassure them that you will be there for comfort. For certain procedures, you can have your child sit or lie on your lap. Staff can assist you in finding the best position for your child for the procedure to be performed.
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, with your child to use during painful times to help her/him feel more in control. Counting forward or backward is a good way to help a child relax.
- Allow your child to bring a favorite comforting toy. Favorite small games or books may serve as a distraction during waiting periods and some procedures.
- Reward your child. Let him or her push the buttons on the elevator or pick out a small treat in the gift shop. Help your child make positive associations, especially if he or she will have to return to the hospital again.
- Prepare for your child's return home before you go. This will assure your child that hospitalization is only temporary.
If Your Child Is Spending the Night
Visitation is 24 hours a day for parents with children at Benefis Health System. Brothers and sisters may also visit if they are healthy. There are sleeping areas for parents in all patient rooms.
Putting Medical Terms into Simple Words
Words that are new to children or have different meanings can be confusing. Medical expressions should be explained in simple terms, so children can understand them. The following are a few examples of ways to help your child understand medical terms.
Shot - A poke or prick. How medicine is given. Not a gunshot.
Stretcher - A bed on wheels. You are not stretched.
X-ray - A picture of bones.
Anesthesia - Medicine to make you sleepy during your operation. When the operation is over, the doctor stops giving you that medicine and helps you wake up.
Take your vital signs - Measure your temperature, see how fast your heart is beating. Nothing is taken away from you.
Intravenous or IV - Medicine that works best when it is given in your arm. It's the quickest way to help you get better.
Preventive and Primary Care
Routine checkups and physical exams.*
Doctor visits for sick children.
Speech, hearing and vision tests.
Laboratory and X-ray services.
Prescription (Rx) drugs.
Pregnancy and childbirth services.
*All children should have at least the following number of well-child checkups:
From birth to 12 months: 8 checkups
From 15 months to 4 years old: 5 checkups
From 5 to 10 years old: 4 checkups
From 11 to 21 years old: 11 checkups