Supporting parents of our heart warriors

February 20, 2018

Texas Children’s Heart Center is ranked No. 1 in the country for cardiology and heart surgery, a well-deserved and accomplished status, by U.S. News & World Report. With over 23,000 patients seen every year, our Heart Center offers a unique, family-centric approach to providing high-quality care to our patients and families. We are the home of groundbreaking technology, implementing some of the most complex surgeries and continued therapies in the country.

Words of wisdom for parents of heart warriors

When a child is diagnosed with a heart condition, parents are faced with a wide range of emotions. Social workers in the Heart Center are available to assist you during this time as you cope with your child’s diagnosis. We can help you access ongoing support and resources, as well as validation for your thoughts and feelings. Our social workers assess each patient situation delicately and professionally, walking alongside your family during your triumphs and your struggles. One of our social workers provided the following advice for parents of heart warriors:

  • After a long hospitalization surrounded by nurses and physicians, going home can be scary. Although taking your child home is the ultimate goal, it can cause anxiety to suddenly become your child’s primary caregiver, especially after receiving constant care for such a long time. Be patient with yourself and your child. Trust your instincts and embrace the training you received prior to discharge.
  • Caring for a heart patient is physically and emotionally exhausting. It’s important to remember to take good care of yourself, too. This will allow you to maintain your continuous ability to provide the best care to your child.
  • Oftentimes, you might feel alone amidst your day-to-day battles. During these tribulations and victories, lean on your support system. Your family, friends, social workers and medical team are always just a phone call away!
  • Lastly, know there is no such thing as a stupid question – especially if you don’t know the answer!

Resources and support

Social workers are able to provide a variety of resources to families in order to best address your specific needs. Below are a few recommended sources of support for parents of heart warriors.  

  • Mended Little Hearts
    • This is an organization supporting parents who have a child diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. The website has accessible educational materials, a parent matching program and a parent resource guide.
  • Pediatric Heart Transplant Support Group (Facebook)
    • This group is only for parents and guardians of pediatric heart transplant patients. Receiving a heart transplant becomes a life-long journey for the family, and at times one might feel isolated and misunderstood about what they’re going through. This group gives parents of heart transplant patients support and validation, and helps to normalize a wide range of emotions. Reading stories from other people can often be inspiring, helpful and uplifting in many ways.
  • TCH Heart Families Support Group (Facebook)
    • This group allows families to connect with others who have been treated at Texas Children’s Heart Center in the past, or currently. If your child is a heart patient at Texas Children’s, this a great way to interact with other families who have been in the exact same place.   
  • Women’s Place
    • Located within Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, the Women’s Place can offer a variety of mental health services for mothers up to 12 months postpartum.

Every patient at Texas Children’s has a social worker assigned to them, no matter if the patient is admitted to the hospital or seen in one of our outpatient clinics. At Texas Children’s, we strive to provide the best care possible to every patient, and their family, who walks through our doors. To find out who your child’s social worker is, simply ask their physician or nurse.

February is American Heart Month. Join the CDC Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Million Hearts® in letting younger adults know they are not immune to heart disease, but that they can reduce their risk—at any age—through lifestyle changes and by managing medical conditions. For messages and resources, click here.

Post by:

Elizabeth Adkins, Blair Alger, Chelsea Adams, Anita Cook, Ver’Tanya Jack & Elena Moreno