Hospital Visits: What to Expect

If your child needs to be hospitalized, he or she will be admitted to the sixth floor at Children's - Minneapolis. Staff on that unit are experts in helping children and their families learn about CF and in providing the inpatient care your child will need

We understand that sometimes, despite your hard work to keep your child healthy, symptoms get worse. Coughing may increase, there may be a change in the color or amount of mucus and/or a drop in pulmonary function. Your child may be less active, or sleep more, have a poor appetite and lose weight. This is called a "flare-up," or "pulmonary exacerbation." Sometimes, if the flare-up is mild, we may recommend that you treat this at home with antibiotics and more therapies. If this doesn't work, to bring you child's lung function back to his or her best, a child is admitted to the hospital for what we often refer to as a "clean-out" or "tune-up."

At Children's, our aggressive approach to treating pulmonary exacerbations means better results. A hospital clean-out or tune up is the best way to return your child to his/her best. If your child's condition allows, this hospitalization will be arranged before or after other important life events, such as a birthdays, holidays or vacation.

Most hospital stays are at least one to two weeks, sometimes more. How long your child stays depends on many things; most importantly, how they respond to therapy. We don't think of hospital stays as a failure. Sometimes hospital stays are the best way to invest in your child's future.

Taking care of CF is a constant battle against germs that can settle in the lungs due to thick, sticky mucus, and eventually cause infection. An exacerbation is a signal more treatment is needed.

Call us at (612) 813-3226 for more information.

What to Expect in the Hospital

  • Physical Therapy/Exercise: Your child is encouraged to get exercise while in the hospital. They will meet with a physical therapist to help educate them on the benefits of exercise, and to work on ribcage/chest mobility and strengthening. They will have 30-45 minutes sessions of physical therapy, 4-5 times a week, which includes a cardio/pulmonary workout.

  • Rest: Rest is an important part of the recovery process. During the hospitalization, every effort will be made to make sure your child has adequate time to rest. Their schedule will be busy to get in all the treatments, meals, medications and physical therapy, but rest is also included in that time.

  • Antibiotics given through an IV and /or aerosol is the most effective way to get to the lungs. You child will receive IV antibiotics and possibly inhaled antibiotics during the hospital stay. Often two or more different antibiotics are used because they work well together. Ask your doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist about the antibiotics your child receives.

  • Airway clearance is an important part of the treatment process. The BD's or vest treatments with nebs will be given four times a day during the stay.

  • Nutrition. Many patients with CF experience weight loss during this time and it is important to gain this weight back. Extra calories will be provided and the team nutritionist will monitor weight gain. Good nutrition is a very important part of your child's recovery. The team nutritionist can also provide recommended recipes to use at home, as well as tips to use at the grocery store to identify proper foods.

  • Activities. There are a variety of play materials and activities available during your child's hospital stay. These may include organized playroom events such as an animal or zoo visit, video games, movies, craft projects, toys and other play materials. At Children's — Minneapolis, books and computers are available in the Malkerson Library and on the sixth floor. Child life staff are available to help address your child's adjustment to the health care experience

  • School. We encourage you to work with your child's school to get lessons and homework. Computers with Internet access are available for use.

Children's Respiratory and Critical Care Specialists

When enrolled in the Children's CF program, your child can visit any of the following clinics. The Children's CF center is located in Minneapolis.

Children's – Minneapolis
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Children's Specialty Center, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Children's – Minnetonka
6060 Clearwater Drive, Suite 200
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Women's and Children's Medical Center
1900 Centra Care Circle
St. Cloud, MN 56303

Children's – St. Paul
310 North Smith Avenue
Ritche Medical Plaza, Suite 460
St. Paul, MN 55102

Children's Respiratory and Critical Care Specialists at Essentia Health
4020 East 1st
Duluth, MN 55805