Information for children and young people

What to expect from your stay

We understand coming to hospital can be a worrying time and you may have questions about your stay. 

If you are coming to hospital for an operation or test and you need to stay overnight, it means you are being treated as an inpatient. 

We hope our information covers any concerns you may have. If you have any questions about your stay, you can ask a member of staff when you get to the hospital, or ask your parents to speak to us. 

What to pack

Clothes

  • comfortable daytime clothes
  • pyjamas
  • slippers with non-slip soles
  • socks (non-slip)

Toiletries

  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • comb or hairbrush

Electronics

  • Mobile phone or tablet
  • Earphones to listen or watch things on mobile devices

Comforting items

  • A favourite toy, book, or magazine. We also have toys available in the playroom.  Please make sure any toys you bring into hospital can be wiped clean. 

Please bring earphones if you would like to listen or watch things on your mobile device. You can use our free WiFi service to get online. 

Remember to put your name on any personal items. 

When you arrive at the hospital, you will be welcomed by a member of staff, who will explain to you what will be happening that day and what to expect during your stay. 

Where you’ll stay

You will stay on a ward, which is a space in the hospital where patients with similar needs are cared for. You might have your own room, or you might be in a large room with a few beds where other children are also staying.     

Your bedspace will hopefully have everything you need to make your stay comfortable. 

By your bedside, there will be a small cupboard to keep your things in, a TV, radio and phone. There will also be a call bell that you can use if you need help with something. A toilet and bathroom will be close by. 

We have a fully equipped playroom that’s open 7 days a week. 

Having your parents with you overnight

We have accommodation and sleep facilities for parents to stay with you overnight. 

If you are staying on Rose ward, one parent can sleep near your bedspace, and we will provide a bed and bedding for them. 

We have separate accommodation for parents of children staying on our paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) or paediatric high dependency unit (PHDU).  

If you or your parents would like more information, please speak with the ward nurse.

Consent to treatment

Before you have any treatment, a doctor will discuss it with you and your parents. The doctor will explain the benefits and risks, and answer your questions, so that you understand as fully as possible what the treatment involves and can make an informed decision. 

Depending on your age and level of understanding, you may be able to give your own consent. People aged 16 or over can give consent to their own treatment. 

If you and/or your parents decide you can have the treatment, you must sign a consent form. 

If you have any questions about giving consent, please ask your doctor.

Who you might meet on the ward

During your time on the ward, you will meet a range of people who are there to help and look after you. You will also meet other children on the ward and get the opportunity to make new friends.

Our healthcare staff are experts in different medical areas. Here are some people you might come across:

Medical staff

Medical staff such as doctors and consultants are specially trained to look after patients. They are supported by nurses who will take care of you day to day. Nurses are on the wards 24 hours a day and you can let them know if you need anything at any time of the day. 

Clinical nurse specialists

Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are highly knowledgeable nurses who can talk to you about your condition, and give support and advice. 

Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists help you get moving again after surgery. If you have a lung condition they will also help you with airway clearance techniques.

Hospital play specialists

Our play team are there to help keep you occupied. They provide support and help you understand what will happen while you are in hospital. 

Dietitians

Dietitians give advice about eating and drinking, and can help order specialist food from the kitchen.

Occupational therapists

While you are recovering from illness, occupational therapists help you get back to doing everyday activities such as getting dressed, eating, and writing. 

Pharmacists

Pharmacists can answer your questions about your medicines.

Speech and language therapists

Speech and language therapists support you if you have difficulties with speech and language, or eating, drinking and swallowing.

Students

You may see a small number of medical students observing and learning on the ward, and sometimes, your nurse or doctor may ask you if they can be present during your appointment. Please tell us if you don’t feel comfortable with this. 

Mealtimes

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served each day at the following times:

  • Breakfast: 8:30am to 9:30am (served at bays)
  • Lunch: 12pm to 12.30pm (served from the playroom)
  • Dinner: 5pm to 6pm (served from the playroom)

For lunch and dinner, a member of the catering team will ask you for your menu choices each day.

Halal, Kosher and vegetarian and vegan options are available. If you have specific dietary requirements, please speak with the ward nurse. 

If you feel hungry between meals, just speak to a nurse on the ward who will get you a snack. 

You can also bring snacks and drinks with you when you come to the hospital. Most of our wards have a fridge and microwave to store and heat your food. Please label any food you bring in.

Allergen information

If you have any food allergies, please let us know in advance. Meals and snacks for patients with food allergies are prepared separately. 

Bedtimes and wake up times

We encourage children on our wards to try and stick to a sleep schedule so that they sleep well. 

Bedtime is usually at around 8pm and wake up time between 7.30am and 8am, shortly before breakfast is served and the doctors’ ward round begins. 

Children attending the hospital school should be ready to start the first lesson at 10am. 

The hospital school

Our hospital school provides education and an interactive learning environment for children and young people while they are in hospital. 

The hospital school is based on our wards and has full-time teachers as well as specialist teachers covering different subjects such as drama, art, music, technology and modern languages. We also offer opportunities for older students to take part in our youth club which takes place twice a week.

The school day runs from 10am - 12pm, and 1.30pm - 3.30pm.  

The play team

Our play team run a fully equipped playroom for patients open 7 days a week.  

The play team can also provide support and help you understand what will happen while you are in hospital. 

The playroom is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. 

Trailblazers: our patient youth group

Our youth group, Trailblazers, is for patients aged 13-25 who receive care at our hospitals. 

Trailblazers offers young patients the opportunity to take part in social events with other young patients, have their say on our youth healthcare services, and get involved in workshops to boost their skills. Siblings of patients are also welcome to join. 

Learn more about Trailblazers and how you can get involved.

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