Web Content Viewer

After Diagnosis


It’s natural to experience a range of emotions upon learning that your child has an illness or may need surgery. Remember that the staff at Children’s is available to help.

Next steps

The most important thing to learn is “what do I need to know to take care of my child in the immediate future?” Our care team has a lot of information for our families – work with them to focus on the key takeaways. Don’t try to understand everything the first day. 

Tip: It might be helpful to create a summary page of the most important things to remember (if our care team has not already provided you one). It should include:

  • When to contact your care team or go to the ER
  • Who to contact
  • Key temperatures, heart rates, etc. that are important to your child
  • Medication information (name, amount, when and how to take it and who to contact for a refill if needed)

Our team of family support services is here to help you:

  • Find a place to stay near the hospital if needed
  • Organize transportation to your visits
  • Connect your family with support groups, individual or group counseling
  • Offer crisis intervention or  family help adjusting to an illness

Use the resources that are available to you. To talk to a social worker, call 214-456-7000.

Finding support

First, understand that it’s normal to feel shock, anger, guilt, helplessness, sadness, and anxiety after learning of your child’s diagnosis. It’s important to recognize that these emotions are a natural part of the adjustment process.

It is important to talk to your child about their new diagnoses and also make sure they have the support they need. Keep in mind that everyone has a unique response to stress and all individuals cope in their own ways. Following are among the strategies you may find helpful.

  • Understand that we believe that the parent and the child are members of the care team. The parent should be a part of all decisions made, and we will take time to fully explain all the options. Depending on the child’s age, we will include them in the process as well and help them to understand what is going to happen.
  • Try to attend appointments, especially the first couple, with another adult. It’s often difficult to take in all the information you’re given. A companion may help you remember and may think of questions that hadn’t occurred to you.
  • Keep a notebook handy to file important paperwork, make notes, or jot down questions you may think of when away from your care team.
  • Take time to take care of yourself. Your child needs you, so make sure and address your needs as well or you might burn out.