Coming into hospital

What should I do when we arrive at the ward?
When you arrive at the hospital, the reception staff will direct you to the ward. On the ward someone will show you to your room, and will then show you around the unit. A nurse will ask you and your child (depending on their age) lots of questions including:

  • What they like to eat and drink
  • What they like to do during the day
  • When they normally go to bed
  • Who will be staying with them

Asking these questions helps us to get to know you and your child so that we can follow their normal routine as closely as possible.

Daily routines
Being in hospital can sometimes make you feel as if your life is ‘on hold’ as you and your child fit in with the routine of ward rounds and mealtimes. To help your child to adjust more easily, we will discuss his or her normal routine with you and, where possible, try to maintain this while they are in hospital. You can also:

  • Try to follow the same rules you have at home – so behaviour that is not allowed at home is not allowed in the hospital
  • Follow at least part of your child’s usual daily routine, for example rest times and bedtimes
  • If your child usually needs your help, for example with washing or dressing themselves, carry on caring for them whenever possible
  • Make time for yourself. Go outside for a walk and some fresh air, and take time out for regular meals and coffee breaks

Adjusting to new surroundings
Coming to hospital can be bewildering for your child. Sometimes there can be a lot of time to fill while you wait for procedures or test results. Each room is equipped with a television that provides channels suitable for all age groups. To help younger children settle happily:

  • There is a playroom in the hospital where your child can go to play games, do some colouring or other crafts, or just to relax. A play specialist will also be on hand to tell your child about some of the play activities that are available. And if for any reason your child isn’t able to go to the playroom, the play specialist will happily come to their room and organise play activities for them
  • Ask your nurse if there are any other areas of the hospital that you and your child can explore
  • Bring some favourite toys from home
  • Plan time for friends and family to visit your child
  • There is free WiFi available in the ward so if you need to keep in touch with your child’s school, or if your child wants to contact their friends via social networks or play online computer games, this can easily be arranged
  • We also have a selection of computer games that are suitable for all ages

Supporting your child
Play specialists will also be on hand to organise activities and help create a relaxed atmosphere, as well as helping to prepare your child emotionally for a specific procedure.

Depending on your child’s level of understanding this may include:

  • Photo books
  • Adapted dolls and teddies
  • Role playing
  • Visits to other departments

We also have an art therapist and psychologist who will help your child to feel less anxious about being in hospital. We can also link with your child’s school if it is in the UK, to help your child to keep up with any work he/she may be missing.

You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital but only within designated mobile phone friendly zones. Using your phone elsewhere, especially in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) could cause interference with our medical equipment.