We understand that being the parent of a child who is coming to stay in hospital can be a worrying time, so we try our best to make things easier. We hope our information covers the concerns you may have, but please contact us if you would like to speak to someone in person.
Find out more about your child's condition:
Breathing and respiratory
If you have congenital heart disease and are thinking about getting pregnant, find out more.
General information for parents
The children’s department
Royal Brompton’s children’s (paediatric) department, is on level 4 of the Sydney Street wing. It is divided into four areas:
- Rose ward
- Paediatric High Dependency Unit (PHDU)
- Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
- Children’s Sleep and Ventilation Unit.
Staff will give you a map of the hospital site, when your child comes in to hospital.
Children come to Rose ward so we can find out more, or treat, their lung (respiratory) or heart (cardiac) condition. If your child needs surgery, they will be admitted a few days before their operation. Find out more about Rose ward.
Contact: 0330 128 2411/2412
Paediatric High Dependency Unit (PHDU)
PHDU is for children who need close monitoring, respiratory (breathing) or cardiac (heart) support, but who do not need intensive care. Each nurse on the PHDU usually cares for two patients at a time.
The PHDU has two bays, each with four beds. One bay is on Rose ward and the other is on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
After heart or lung surgery, most children are cared for in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) because they need one-to-one care by specialist, intensive care nurses. When a child’s condition improves, we move them to PHDU, or Rose Ward.
If your child is admitted to PICU, staff will give you a leaflet with more information, called ‘PICU handbook’.
Contact the PICU on: 0330 128 8121, extension 82400
Find out more about the PICU ward.
Children’s sleep and ventilation unit
Children with sleep-related breathing disorders are evaluated and cared for on the sleep and ventilation unit. These disorders include: asthma, muscular dystrophy and obstructive sleep apnoea.
The unit has four bedrooms, each with a video camera, audio equipment and sensors, so doctors can monitor children while they sleep.
Find out more about the children’s sleep and ventilation unit, or contact them on: 0203 352 8121, extension 2267. You can also ask the switchboard to bleep 1291.
Before your child has any treatment, a doctor will discuss it with you. The doctor will explain the benefits and risks, and answer your questions, so that you can make an informed decision. If you decide your child can have the treatment, you must sign a consent form.
Depending on your child’s age and level of understanding, he or she may be involved in the discussion with the doctor, and may be able to give their consent. People aged 16 or over can give consent to their own treatment.
If you have any questions about giving consent, please ask your doctor.
Before you come in to hospital, the admissions team will give you a packing list.
We want your child to be comfortable in hospital, so they can also bring in a favourite toy, favourite clothes, a pillow or electronic gadgets.
If your child has medication, please bring it into hospital, so the doctors know what medication your child is taking.
While your child is in hospital the pharmacy will supply medications as needed, and make sure you have enough before you go home.
If you have a buggy or wheelchair, you can keep it in the buggy park, at the main reception (Level 2, ground floor, Sydney Street).
Whether you or your extended family are popping in for a visit, or you would like to stay overnight with your child, we want you and your child to feel as comfortable as possible.
Rose Ward: one parent can stay overnight with their child. We will give you a bed and bedding. The bed must be put away by 8am for the medical and nursing handovers. We may be able to provide accommodation for other family members nearby.
PICU/PHDU: you cannot sleep by your child's bedside in PICU or PHDU, but we provide accommodation nearby.
Children’s Sleep and Ventilation Unit: One parent can stay with their child in the cubicle overnight.
Rose ward has a self-administration scheme, where some parents and carers have responsibility to give their child their medication. To find out if the self-administration scheme is suitable for you, please talk to a nurse.
There are 27 rooms in the children’s department for parents to stay:
- 7 rooms, Level 6, Sydney Street
- 20 rooms, South Parade.
There is no charge for staying in these rooms.
We give priority to:
- mothers who have just given birth, and parents/carers of critically ill children (Level 6 rooms).
- families of children who are on PICU/PHDU
If your child transfers from PICU/PHDU to Rose Ward, you may be asked to change your room, so other families can have the accommodation.
For enquiries about accommodation, call the Royal Brompton switchboard and ask them to bleep the family liaison team on 1274. The family liaison office, on South Parade, is open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can collect and leave keys at the office. After 5pm, you can collect keys from the ward.
If you have children under the age of 16 who need accommodation, please also talk to the Family Liaison team.
- We encourage mothers to breastfeed, if they wish. If you want to express milk, we have an expressing room, an electric pump, and a freezer for expressed milk.
- If you need help with breastfeeding, we have a breastfeeding and expressing team called BEST. We can contact the midwives from Chelsea and Westminster, or your health visitor, if needed.
If you are breastfeeding you are entitled to free meals. Please ask a nursery nurse for more information.
We have bottles and teats for bottle feeding, or you can use your own if you prefer. Please bring your own formula milk for your baby.
During your child’s stay, you will meet a range of people who are there to help and look after them. These include the:
All nurses are fully qualified with a range of skills and experience. Student nurses are always supervised by qualified nurses.
Your child will be under the care of a doctor; either a consultant paediatric cardiologist or a consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine. The doctor is supported by a registrar and a senior house officer, who are also doctors. These doctors will be involved in your child’s care and take part in daily ward rounds. Visiting doctors, called fellows, also work with our consultants.
Children on PICU are also cared for by a consultant intensivist.
Other specialist doctors, who may be involved in your child’s care, include:
- anaesthetist (sedation and pain relief)
- radiologist (X-rays and scans)
- gastroenterologist (stomach)
- endocrinologist (hormones)
- neurologist (brain and nerves)
- nephrologist (kidneys)
Paediatric bed manager
The paediatric bed manager can answer your questions about your child’s stay in hospital.
Clinical nurse specialists
Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are highly knowledgeable about your child’s condition. You may have met a CNS in outpatients, or at another hospital. The CNS about can talk to you about your child’s diagnosis and care, and give support and advice.
Family liaison team
The family liaison team can support your whole family during your child’s stay in hospital. They offer psychological and social support, and can help with practical problems like organising accommodation and parking.
Clinical psychologists provide psychological support for children and their families, even if difficulties are not about the child’s illness.
Physiotherapists treat children with respiratory (lung/breathing) conditions, and children who have had heart or lung surgery. They help children to get moving again after surgery.
Dieticians give advice about eating and drinking, and can help order specialist food from the kitchen.
Occupational therapists offer advice and support to help children develop, recover or maintain their skills for everyday activities.
Pharmacists can answer your questions about your child’s medicines.
Speech and language therapists
Speech and language therapists help children who have difficulties communicating or swallowing. When your child comes in to hospital, please tell a nurse if you are concerned about your child’s speech and language, or eating and drinking.
Hospital play specialists
Play specialists use play to help children prepare for an operation or procedure. They can also help you and your child with worries about being in hospital. Play specialists can see your child at their bedside or in the playroom.
Nursery nurses support the nurses, to help children develop and learn.
The discharge team and nurses will help you get ready to go home, especially if your child has been in hospital a long time, or has complex needs. If you have any questions about going home, please ask the discharge team.
Brompton Fountain charity
The Brompton Fountain is a charity which provides support and resources for children and their families at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals. The charity holds social and fundraising events, which are advertised on posters in the wards.
Rose ward has a playroom, open every day 10am-5pm and 6-7.30pm. Children must be supervised by a parent/carer or hospital play supervisor at all times.
The hospital has a school, called the Chelsea Community Hospital School, near the wards (level 4, Sydney Street). The school has two full-time teachers and a learning assistant. A teacher will talk to you about your child’s education, if needed. Find out more.
If you are a parent or carer, and need information and communication support relating to an impairment or disability, please tell a doctor or nurse.
If you or your child needs an interpreter, ask a doctor or nurse. If possible, please ask the day before you come in to hospital, so we have time to book an interpreter.
Spiritual, pastoral and religious support
The multi-faith chaplaincy team supports people of all faiths, or none. The chapel and multi-faith prayer room is on level 2, Sydney Street, and is always open. The team provides spiritual, pastoral and religious care to patients, relatives, carers, staff and visitors.
Access to medical records
If you would like to see your child’s medical records, please ask your child’s doctor.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
If you have concerns about your child's care, and feel unable to talk to staff in the children's department, you can call the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). This is a confidential service.
Switchboard 0330 128 8121
Rose Ward 0330 128 2411 / 2412
Paediatric Intensive Care Unit 0330 128 8121 extension 82400
Paediatric bed manager 0330 128 8121 extension 88588
Family Liaison team 0330 128 8588 or 07484 936290 or FamilyLiaison@rbht.nhs.uk
Children’s Outpatients 0330 128 8121 extension 84004
Cardiac Specialist Nurses 0330 128 7727
Respiratory Nurses Specialist 0330 128 8714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinical psychologists 0330 128 88251
Multi faith team 0330 128 4736
Patient Advice and Liaison Service 0330 128 7715 or email email@example.com.
Transition to adult congenital heart disease (CHD) services
When your child reaches 12 or 13, we will invite them to come to a transition clinic. Over the course of two to three years, we use our appointments clinic to get your child used to the idea of moving from child services to CHD adult services. The move usually occurs around the age of 16, but this depends on the young person and whether they are ready.
Transition to adult CF services
If you're child has cycstic fibrosis, we will look to start the gradual process of moving them towards adult care, between the ages of 14 to 17. In the move to adult care, the adult CF team can offer your child more appropriate care as they get older.
Find out more about the adult CF transition service.
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but particularly for babies born with congenital heard disease (CHD), or cystic fibrosis. Find out more about nutrition and the best diet for them: