The Impact of Adolescent Hospitalization and Isolation: A Case Study of Bobby’s Experience

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Case Study: Bobby, a 13-year-old male, was hospitalized following a perforated appendix that required surgery. Bobby has an open wound requiring dressing changes twice daily. He is currently on contact precautions for a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. The estimated date of discharge is five to ten days post-op and will include long-term antibiotics and wound care.
The nurse notes on the assessment- Previously Bobby was talkative and related his enthusiasm for school and upcoming science competitions. However, today, he was withdrawn and stated, “I’m just tired”.
What are the impacts when an adolescent is separated from their peer group?
How should the nurse arrange for visitation and playtime during Bobby’s hospitalization and isolation?
What concerns with body image would the nurse anticipate?
Why is “play” an important part of childhood?


Introduction This case study presents Bobby, a 13-year-old male who was hospitalized for a perforated appendix that required surgery. Bobby is on contact precautions for an MRSA infection and has an open wound that requires dressing changes twice daily. This essay will explore the impacts of separation from the peer group, arrangements for visitation and playtime during hospitalization and isolation, concerns with body image that the nurse may anticipate, and the importance of play in childhood.

Impacts of Separation from Peer Group Adolescents tend to be social beings, and being separated from their peer group can have significant impacts on their emotional and social well-being. The separation can cause anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and even depression, which can affect their ability to cope with the hospitalization and recovery process. Bobby’s withdrawal and statement of being tired may be an indication that he is experiencing some of these emotions.

Arrangements for Visitation and Playtime during Hospitalization and Isolation Visitation and playtime are essential for hospitalized adolescents’ emotional and social well-being, and the nurse should arrange for them. However, in Bobby’s case, he is on contact precautions due to an MRSA infection, which limits visitation and playtime options. The nurse should explore virtual visitation and playtime options and involve Bobby’s family and friends in these activities. Additionally, the nurse should ensure that Bobby has access to age-appropriate reading materials, movies, and video games to help alleviate boredom and provide some entertainment.

Concerns with Body Image Body image concerns are common among adolescents, and hospitalization can exacerbate these concerns. The open wound and dressing changes can make Bobby feel self-conscious about his appearance, especially if the wound is in a visible area. The nurse should anticipate these concerns and provide Bobby with resources and support to address them. The nurse can involve a child life specialist or provide resources such as books, videos, and podcasts that address body image concerns.

The Importance of Play in Childhood Play is an essential part of childhood, and it has many benefits for children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. It can help alleviate stress and anxiety, promote creativity, and provide an opportunity for socialization and peer interaction. Additionally, play can help children cope with difficult situations, such as hospitalization. The nurse should encourage play as part of Bobby’s recovery process and explore options that align with his interests and preferences.

Conclusion Hospitalization can be a challenging experience for adolescents, and the nurse plays a vital role in addressing their emotional and social well-being. This case study highlights the importance of addressing the impacts of separation from the peer group, arranging for visitation and playtime during hospitalization and isolation, anticipating body image concerns, and promoting play as part of the recovery process. By addressing these areas, the nurse can help Bobby cope with hospitalization and facilitate his recovery process.

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