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Our Teen Advisory Board (TAB) includes nine adolescents from 11 to 17 years old who are, or have recently been, patients/siblings at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. The board meets monthly, giving teenagers a chance to voice their opinions and make suggestions on how the hospital can be more teen-friendly.
TAB members have been an integral part of the planning team for Comer Children's. Some of their ideas included adding a cafe and more group areas for patients to socialize and play. Comer Children's includes all that and more. The young people asked for — and received:
More common spaces for families
A family kitchen and laundry facilities
Personal bulletin boards in each room
What is it like to be in the hospital?
Our Teen Advisory Board members had this to say about staying in the hospital:
Sometimes it can be very difficult, but not all the time.
Sometimes it can be boring.
You have to get used to the needles.
It helps to make friends with the nurses and staff.
Sometimes it helps to get some fresh air, take a walk or spend some time in the play area.
What is it like to have a sickness that lasts a long time?
Here are a few answers from kids like you:
It can be scary and/or challenging, but you need to keep your chin up.
Parents and friends can be a good support system.
Sometimes people treat you like you are fragile.
School can be hard because you have to skip gym class sometimes.
What might you say to other kids about being sick?
Here is some advice from our members:
Remember that you are not alone.
Try not to worry too much.
Listen to the doctors. They are trying to help you.
Try not to worry about things you can’t control.
If you need to get injections, ask the nurse to use Emla cream first. It helps with the pain.
What items should I bring to the hospital?
You can bring any of these items to Comer Children's: