Sending your Cardiac Kid back to school, or to school for the first time? Worried about what could happen if there were to be a medical emergency? I would think every Heart Parent would be concerned. Thankfully, the group Hypoplastic Right Hearts has a template for a letter you can send to your child’s teacher to help make sure everyone is on the same page. The letter also gives the teacher more information concerning the child’s heart defect and even includes a few tips about trouble signs to look for.
Feel free to rewrite this letter to fit your and your child’s needs!
I wanted to first say hello. _______(Child’s name) is excited to be in ____ grade and will
hopefully be a perfect addition to your student body.
I wanted to let you know a little about _________(child’s name). I will send this to
___________(school nurse, gym teacher, and any other relevant staff) as well, so I
apologize if it was passed on but as you will see it is rather important that everyone
dealing with __________(child’s name) is aware of his/her special circumstances.
_________(Child’s name) was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called
__________________________________________________(give child’s diagnosis).
I know, it’s a lot to read, and basically it means, s/he was born missing the right
ventricle, and has “half a heart.” _________(child’s name) has had to have ___(number
of surgeries) open-heart surgeries to reconstruct the pumping function so it pumps to
his/her entire body.
We have been enjoying the time since the last surgery and do not expect any procedures
in the near future (or state if there is a plan for surgeries/procedures during the school
year), but with a condition this serious the future is never crystal clear. He will see his
cardiologist in _________(state upcoming appointments if any) and if anything is turned
up, we will of course let you know if it will affect his school time.
Just to let you know some tidbits about him and some warning signs and things to watch
for. ___________(Child’s name) oxygen levels are slightly lower than that of other kids.
The weather can affect heat/cold regulation so there needs to be the ability to rest when
s/he needs to and hydrate as much as possible during physical activity, this is very
important. I will make sure s/he is appropriately dressed for the weather.
Physically s/he is to be treated as normal as possible. S/He is not allowed hard contact
sports or any kicking, hitting, direct ball contact etc in the chest. Running is fine and most
physical activity is ok as long as s/he can rest if s/he needs it or get a drink of water.
Things to watch for: Nostrils flaring/rapid irregular breathing. Bloodshot eyes or rolling
of the eyes, extreme sweating, redness of the face and body that doesn’t go away with
shade/rest, blueness of the lips or hands or vomiting. Any signs of an adult heart attack,
the dizziness, fainting, pain in the arms, etc. also would of course be signs of emergency.
____________(Child’s name) does have to take ____(list medication), which I give at
home. (Also list any meds that the school will have to administer). I would like to let you
know that aspirin (or Coumadin) increases bleeding and bruising risk.
As I mentioned, I will have spoken with all the staff that deal with ________(Child’s
name), and obviously if s/he is in distress of any kind, 911 should be called before me,
but if s/he’s just “normal” sick, I can be called.
Please forgive me if this comes across as a lot of information. We wanted to provide it so
everyone is on the same page in regards to __________(Child’s name) care. There really
should be minimal impact the heart defect has on day to day life at school, but we felt
very strongly that everyone who is in a caretaking role be made aware of this issue.
We are all looking forward to a fun school year. Thank you so much for taking the time
to read this, and if there are any questions you have, I would be more than happy to
answer them for you. Thank you again.
MOM & DAD
Mom Cell 555-5556
Dad Cell 555-5557