“I’ve been here since Saturday and I’ve already had two lessons in my room,” says Johan, 13, in 4th grade and hospitalized in Bordeaux after diabetes was detected. This will allow me not to fall behind.” Eight specialized teachers, national education officials, provide lessons to patients aged 3 to 18, within Bordeaux children’s hospital. They have been operating since 1992, the year the service opened, but with the means at hand. Conditions will change within 18 months, the CHU management announced this Wednesday.
Today, classes take place either in the patient’s room, in the teachers’ office or in the small dining room for parents of sick children, open to the department. Not ideal for ensuring educational continuity and also taking the child out a little, when possible, from the somewhat austere environment of their hospital room.
Avoid disconnection from school and other children
Part of the donations received via sponsorship for the benefit of the Bordeaux University Hospital, or 210,000 euros, will make it possible to open two classrooms by 2025. One with 30 places for hospitalized children and the other with 15 places, dedicated to children receiving follow-up care and pediatric rehabilitation. They will be installed in the basement, where the old intensive care unit was located. The project is due to start at the end of 2023. “A real class would be a little better,” points out Johan. I haven’t met any children here yet.” Eva, 14, has been coming about every three months since she was five for hospitalizations linked to a rare genetic disease, cystinosis. “Sometimes, because of hospitalization, we lose a little of our academic level. And if there are three or four of us, it’s a bit like having classmates.”
Marie, Johan’s mother is also a teacher specializing in this service and finds herself on the other side, after her son’s diagnosis of diabetes. “Isolation is very important when you are sick,” she points out. It is essential to allow them to regroup, within a framework and with all the equipment they need. Otherwise it’s a double whammy: we’re sick and we fall behind in school.”
Around 300 children per day pass through the Bordeaux children’s hospital and for Brigitte Llanas, head of the pediatrics department, they must be offered “comprehensive care”. She also points out the fact that specialist teachers assist medical staff. “We are lucky to have access to the children’s medical files, we can see what they have and every morning we distribute them according to ages and levels,” adds Laëtitia Gilles-Million, a teacher specializing in early childhood education. degree and who has just entered his twelfth year at the University Hospital.
Each year, these teachers whose mission is to bring the school within the walls of the hospital see around a thousand children, from kindergarten to final year. “We lack the collective dimension, particularly for the little ones I look after, they need to rely on each other,” confides Laëtitia Gilles-Million. The new classroom will bring more normality to the hospital, even if teaching will remain adapted to each pathology and the level of fatigue of the children. Classes in the rooms will continue in parallel for those who cannot leave them for medical reasons.
“The students forget their illnesses a little”
“We are rather very well received because they realize that we have a somewhat privileged link with them,” remarks Laetitia Gilles-Million. It’s an hour when they think of something else, they become children again and no longer just patients. The students forget their illnesses a little. » Sophie Loppinet, coordinator of specialized education, acts as a link between the departmental national education services and the hospital. It also recounts the personal commitment of teachers, united in an association and who carry out an action each year to raise funds for educational materials. The teachers are very closely linked to the children’s schools of origin.
To the knowledge of Anne Delmas Laussinote, senior health executive, this would be the second school of this type in a hospital in France, with the one that already exists at the Necker hospital in Paris. Real progress for the quality of children’s stay in hospital so that they do not “lose the thread”, she adds. “College is better than the hospital,” concludes Johan, with a slightly sad smile.