Preparing your child for a hospital stay

Jalyssa Kessler, CCLS, CPST, child life services, Parkview Health, walks parents and younger patients through what to expect during a hospital stay.

When a child gets admitted to the hospital, they will most likely stay overnight, either in our Pediatric Unit or Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Sometimes, an admission is last-minute and unexpected, therefore, the units typically have most things a child and their family may need for the stay. However, you are allowed to bring items with you.

If a child has pajama pants and/or a button down pajama shirt, they are welcome to wear that. Otherwise, we will give them a gown to wear. We recommend and encourage parents to bring comfort items like stuffed animals, blankets and other favorite items from home for their child. This can make the hospital environment less scary for them. One of our primary goals is to try and make the hospital environment and experience as normal as possible for our patients, and having familiar items around certainly helps us achieve this objective.

Both of our Pediatric units are locked units, and everyone who wants to enter the unit must check-in with the front desk. Every room is private, meaning only your child will be in that room, and each room includes a bathroom with a shower. The rooms all have a sofa that pulls out into a bed and a television. Our Pediatric floor also has a playroom and family lounge.

Patients who are able to leave their rooms are welcome to go to the playroom to play. If your child can’t leave their room, we can typically make arrangements to have toys taken to them. We also have toys for our patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to play with in their rooms. Sometimes, if approved by the child’s doctor, the child may be able to go to our Pediatric Unit to enjoy the playroom.

Our family lounge is a popular area for older patients, siblings and families. It’s a quiet room with vending machines and furniture. Families and siblings can often be found hanging out here playing games, socializing, making phone calls or just relaxing.

While we typically ask that only one parent stay overnight with the child, family visits are encouraged during the day. We do always ask families to be respectful of our other patients by following the hospital visiting hours and using quiet, calm voices in our units. All of this is designed to make your child’s hospital staff as restorative and healing as possible.

 

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