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Mended Little HeartGuide

Diagnosis 3 In The • Create a payment plan with your hospital or doctors. Many parents and caregivers take one look at medical bills and panic. The bills may be too big for you to handle at this time. Call the billing department and set up a payment plan you can manage. Even paying a little each month is better than avoiding bills altogether. Lifestyle Changes While this Mended Little HeartGuide is designed to be a useful resource that helps to reduce stress, parents and caregivers do need to be aware of lifestyle changes that families experience. The truth is, understanding and mentally starting to accept that these changes might be necessary can reduce stress down the road by helping you avoid surprises. Lifestyle changes experienced by many families who have children with CHD include: • A parent changing or leaving a job: Sometimes, a parent will need to change employers or quit his or her job to stay home with a child who has CHD. Changes in employment can happen for a variety of reasons — a need for better insurance coverage, more flexible hours, more time off or a shorter commute. These choices can cause significant stress on the family, both in terms of reduced income and reduced satisfaction for the unemployed parent, but they can also help both parents feel more secure and in control of their child’s care. • Changes in spending: Some families who have children with CHD need to reduce spending because of medical bills or changes in employment. This can cause anger and resentment, both of which are completely normal. The best way to reduce negative feelings is to find fun things you can do as a family that are low-cost or free. Focus on the many things you have rather than the things you have to give up. This is hard to do, and there may be days when you still experience negative feelings, but focusing on the positive creates a better atmosphere for your whole family. • Day care/childcare arrangements: Childcare may be a little trickier for the parent or caregiver of a child with CHD. Some choose to avoid day care/childcare entirely because they are concerned about exposure to illnesses. Others have to change childcare because their former provider is not willing or equipped to care for a child with CHD (CPR training, AEDs, emergency plans, etc.). Still others avoid day care around the time of surgeries but use it at other times. Ask your child’s cardiologist about day care if you are a single parent or if your family needs both parents’ incomes to pay the bills. Many children with CHD do fine in childcare situations, but others may not. • Relying more on extended family and others. While having help from friends and extended family is a blessing, it can also cause stress for everyone involved. Parents and caregivers may feel guilty and uncomfortable about needing help, and friends and extended family often don’t know what to do to help. Remember that your friends and family want to help you, so let go of the guilt. Make a list of things that need to be done to keep your life running, and be realistic about what you have the time and energy to accomplish. Keep the list handy, and next time a friend or family member asks how they can help, pick something from the list. 1 General Information 2 Prenatal Hospital 4 Living With CHD 5 Forms 77


Mended Little HeartGuide
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