This story was selected as a winner during our 2017 summer story contest and was submitted by Sarah Coplen, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital.
When I worked as a Hospital Admissions Coordinator, I met with children and families as they arrived at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital to be admitted for care. On occasion, I found that some parents didn’t tell their child that they were coming here for treatment, perhaps because they were scared of how the kids would react or thought it might be easier for them to understand once they got to our building. As a result, some youth became angry at their parents because they didn’t want to be here. They got scared and didn’t want to be admitted or go upstairs to the dormitory and treatment area.
The process of admitting youth to a psychiatric hospital can be emotionally taxing, especially during a crisis. On all of these occasions, I knew I could always count on our campus supervisors to help me when a youth became aggressive or defiant upon admission. More times than I can even count, a campus supervisor would come to the rescue for so many of the kids I met with.
Our employees have spectacular ways of talking with kids and being relatable to them. Every campus supervisor is able to talk with the child at their level, where they’re at and connect with them so quickly. I remember one mom who brought her young son to the hospital for admission because he had been destructive at home and was showing physical and verbal aggression towards others. He was very tearful, visually upset and angry when he arrived here. He was scared and didn’t know what to expect. He also didn’t want to leave his mom. When our campus supervisor came into the room, he assessed what was happening and started talking about Power Rangers with the boy. Their conversation grew and he was able to explain to the boy what treatment was like here, what to expect and how we could help him. At the end of their conversation, the boy was practically begging to go meet the rest of the kids and play Power Rangers. Connecting with the youth just comes so easy to our employees and you can tell each person truly enjoys their job.
It’s so important to make the admissions process a calming and welcoming experience for both youth and their parents. We know the process of finding care and treatment for children can be scary, so every time a family walks in, we work hard to make a connection and make them feel comfortable. I’ve learned a lot from everyone at KVC about how to help others, how to speak with others rather than at them, and how to show how much we care for people at KVC Hospitals.
About KVC Hospitals
KVC Hospitals provides behavioral health services for children and teens ages 6-18 who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health challenges. Each year, we help thousands of youth through our network of inpatient hospitals and psychiatric residential facilities by providing treatment, care, and skill-building so they can understand their diagnoses, connect to their support network and thrive.