Author: Bob Taylor

A day in the life of... the consultant

Updated Tuesday, 22nd April 2003
A consultant suggests the best way to prepare your children for a visit to hospital.

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Bob Taylor - Consultant

Dr Bob Taylor is a Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist and is in charge of intensive care at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. One of the children he is looking after is a baby boy suffering from bronchiolitis.

Q. How can I be as well prepared as possible for my child being admitted to hospital?

A.Having a child of any age admitted to hospital can be very worrying for parents. You may be concerned about how to prepare your child for the experience and how much to tell them. You may be unsure about what kind of support and facilities to expect as parents once your child is admitted. These Internet sites should be able to help you.

Children first NHS and Kids NHS sites have useful sections for parents with lots of tips on what to expect.

The NHS Direct Online Encyclopaedia has a page on children in hospital.

This site from Great Ormond Street hospital is for children to use themselves and invites them to ‘tell their own stories’.

Q. What is bronchiolitis and how common is it in children?

A.The condition is a severe lung disease which primarily affects babies and children and is the most common single cause of young children being admitted to hospital in the UK.

The NHS Direct Online Encyclopaedia gives an introduction to the condition.

The charity Action Research is campaigning to raise public awareness of bronchiolitis.

A brief factsheet from the US National Center for Infectious Diseases describes the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in young children.

Q. How can I find out more about paediatric intensive care units?

A. Paediatric intensive care means looking after the most critically ill children. This requires highly trained specialist staff. There are currently 223 designated paediatric intensive care beds in the UK – some of these are in very small units with only three beds or less. Half the children needing paediatric intensive care are under two years old. Most of the children will be artificially ventilated.

As part of the Government’s plans to improve the quality of health care, National Service Frameworks (NSFs) have been developed to set national standards and allow the improvement process to be monitored and measured. You can read the documents about the NSF for paediatric intensive care, published on the Web by the Department of Health.

The Children’s Health Information Centre at the Queens Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham has provided an excellent collection of information leaflets for families and parents, written by staff at QMC. This leaflet explains to parents of children in paediatric intensive care how their children may be artificially ventilated.

There's a page on intensive care on the NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopaedia site.

Other links:

Children’s Heart Federation

NHS Self-Help Guide

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