Bringing your child to hospital

Hospital can be a daunting place for a young person. We pay special attention to your child to ensure they are comfortable from the moment they arrive.

There are also many things you can do as a parent to address any anxiety and fear they may be feeling. Please read the information below to help you prepare your child before and during their stay in hospital:

  • preparation is the key. Encourage your child to prepare for hospital by packing their bag
  • be open and honest with your child
  • bring a favourite toy or something that can help comfort them during their stay
  • allow time for readjustment when you go home
Surgery preparation
  • Be open and honest with your child about why they need to come to hospital.
  • Let your child know a week before their surgery so they can ask questions.
  • Books and stories about hospital are a good place to start and can help your child prepare for their admission. You can also visit the Royal Children’s Hospital Anaesthesia Pain Management site.
  • Participate in lots of hospital play to familiarise your child to equipment in the hospital setting, including toy medical kits and bandages.
  • You can arrange a pre-admission tour through the Play Therapist if you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing. Tours are usually conducted a week before their admission and are catered to your needs.
  • We can arrange individual booklets for children who need extra attention to understand the reason why they are going to hospital.
  • Reassure your child before coming to hospital. Let them know you can stay with them until they go to sleep and are with them in recovery after the surgery.
What to bring with you

The checklist below gives you a general overview of what to bring to hospital for your child.

  • a list of current medicines
  • Medicare card
  • health insurance details
  • dressing gown and slippers
  • pyjamas (optional)
  • casual clothes (for children who are up and about)
  • hairbrush and comb
  • soap, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • children’s toys, teddies and blankets

Please ensure these items are clean and remember to mark everything clearly with their name.

Baby items

Please bring disposable nappies with you as we don’t supply them.

You may also like to bring some of their clothes and a dummy. This is important if they are a long-term patient.

We can supply some brands of teats and formulas. Please bring any particular brands you use, and we can prepare it for you. We do provide bottles.

Doctor’s rounds

The nursing shift change occurs at 7am, 1pm and 9pm. We conduct a brief walking handover round in each room where we discuss the status and care of your child. We also perform a safety check that includes your child’s ID band, medication charts and treatments in progress.

Our doctors generally do rounds in the morning, but times may vary depending on the numbers of patients that need to be seen.

Please speak to the Clinical Nurse Consultant if you have any questions about your child’s progress and care.

Your child’s recovery

It’s in the best interest of your child to be supported by you or a caregiver before and after surgery.

We encourage you to remain with your child wherever possible. Many anaesthetists allow you to accompany your child into the anaesthetic room until they are asleep.

You can wait in the Day Surgery sitting area while your child is in theatre. If you need to move away from this area, please keep your mobile phone on and with you in case you need to be contacted.

The nurses can call you when your child has returned to the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU) and has been woken from the anaesthetic.

For more information, please see the PACU Parent Information sheet.

Page last updated on: 27 Sep 2018