A Guide for Families of Children with Sickle Cell Anemia at American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH)
What can I expect while my child is at AFCH?
The healthcare team rounds at your child’s bedside each day to talk about his health and plan of care. You know your child best and we would like to know what you think as part of these rounds. The team talks about these goals that need to be met before your child can go home.
- Pain is under control with oral medicine.
- Drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated.
- Having normal bowel movements.
We want your child to stick to home routines for sleeping, eating, and bathing while at AFCH. Let us know how we can help maintain his home schedule. We want your child to be able to get out of bed to walk and play. Gentle play may help with joint swelling, decrease pain, and increase deep breathing.
Dealing with Pain
Our goal is to help your child have as little pain as possible. We will teach your child how to use a pain scale to help us assess his pain. You, your child, and your nurse will decide which scale to use while at AFCH. We use your child’s pain ratings to help us decide how to treat his pain. You may find this scale is also helpful to you in treating your child’s pain at home.
How will my child’s pain be treated?
We use a couple types of medicines to treat your child’s pain. A patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump contains an opioid. It is the best means of keeping him comfortable. This machine can be set to give a steady dose of intravenous (IV) medicine. It can also be set so that your child can push a button to get more pain medicine. This is a helpful way to treat very severe sickle cell pain. He will also get ketorolac. This is an IV anti-inflammatory medicine that helps relieve pain.
If your child is getting opioid pain medicine, he may have side effects. Many children get sleepy when receiving opioid pain medications. Please let your child’s nurse know if you feel he is too sleepy.
One of the more common side effects is itching. Please tell your nurse if your child has discomfort due to itching. He may need to change to a different opioid or need other medicines to treat the itching.
Opioid pain medicines can cause constipation. This is a list of ideas to prevent constipation.
- Take a stool softener or laxative.
- Drink fluids.
- Stay active.
Please report your child’s bowel movements to your nurse and let the health team know if it has been more than three days since he has last had a bowel movement.
Some children have breathing problems related to sickle cell anemia. Your health care team may teach your child to do these breathing exercises to prevent or treat these problems.
- Blowing bubbles.
- Using an incentive spirometer.
If your child has breathing problems, antibiotics or oxygen therapy may be needed. The medical team will discuss this with you.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 11/17/2011
Copyright © 11/17/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7267
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