Supporting your child to self-injection
There will be a time when your child is ready to administer their treatment themselves.
This is a really positive step and allows your child to become more independent and also feel more in control of their condition.
The following tips can help you to make the switch over:
- Involve: When your child is ready, give them responsibilities around their growth hormone administration – getting it from the fridge, preparing their dose, devising their own rewards chart - so that they are able to do most of it independently.
- Communicate: Always speak to your doctor before making the decision to allow your child to self-administer their growth hormone.
- Teach: Talk to your child about the technique that you use and any tips you have learnt to make the injection less painful.
- Practice: Use a firm fruit such as an orange or a plum with a spare injector device from your doctor. Practicing in this way will give your child more confidence for when they come to inject themselves for the first time.
- Technique: Teach your child which are the best sites to inject themselves - these could be the thighs and abdomen, as there is more fat and fewer nerve endings. Discuss the importance of rotating the injection site daily.
- Local anaesthetic: Teach your child how to numb the area prior to injection using either an ice cube or local anaesthetic cream or gel.
- Get support: Find out if there is an opportunity for your child to join a workshop with other children in a similar position at the local hospital or patient group. This will allow your child to ask questions and get peer support.
- Teach your child relaxation techniques: These will help reduce stress and any potential needle fear. These include breathing exercises and guided relaxation.
Once you feel your child is ready and has the necessary ‘training’, so they can begin to learn how to inject themselves, remember to:
- Teach your child to inject so that the body is supported; either sitting or lying down with a pillow to prop them up.
- Encourage and motivate your child up to their first self-injection and beyond.
- Compliment your child on their technique and ability to self-inject.
- Ask regularly how they feel it is going, both practically and emotionally.
Sometimes the first few injections may not go as smoothly as you would hope. Make sure that you are at home so you can help them should they need it. If there is a problem, try to determine together what this might be and offer suggestions. Try to be patient and understanding so you can give your child the confidence they need.
If you find yourself resisting the transition consider why this might be (e.g. difficulty letting go, lack of confidence in your child or fear of losing control) and what the cause is. Talking honestly with your partner or another parent may help you to process these feelings – remember with each step, your child is growing up to be more confident and responsible about their own health.
Use the links below to find out more about:
- Symptoms and types of growth disorders.
- When to see your doctor and how to get diagnosed.
- How to treat growth disorders.
- How can we live with it - with stories from real life patients and a section on needle fear.