Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Ready (4)
The Children's Hospital is in the city centre, which means there isn't much space nearby for lots of cars to park. We do have some car parks and we do charge for parking. Your parents might be able to get a reduced price here if you need to come and see us a lot. There is also parking nearby on parking meters.
For some conditions, such as if cancer is suspected, the wait will be very short, a week or two. For others you might have to wait for several weeks. This includes areas like physiotherapy. A children's hospital is a very busy place and there are always lots of children with things wrong with them who need to be seen: but you should not be kept waiting so long that your illness becomes unbearable or makes you very ill. If your parents are worried about the wait, they can ring the number given in the appointment letter if they have one, or they can ask PALS to look into it for them.
You can expect to be told all about what treatments you will be having, whether you will need any tests like an X-ray or a blood sample, and whether you will need to come in for an operation or come back for further checks. If you are having an operation, the pre-admissions team will talk to you and tell you about your operation.
You will be told about not eating or drinking for a certain time before you come to hospital if you are going to have a general anaesthetic or some procedures. Usually this means not eating a full meal for several hours beforehand, and not drinking for a shorter time before you come to the hospital. If you are in any doubt, ring the number in the appointment letter or speak to your doctor or nurse if you already know who they are. Eating well is important, both before you come to hospital and after your treatment.
Eating well while in hospital is very important. But there could be times when you don't feel like eating, such as just after an operation. That's expected. All your meals are provided free, and there are snacks available in the hospital. You will always have a choice, and special meals will be provided if you need them during your stay.
We know how important pets are. But because we look after a lot of very sick children who might pick up lots of infections easily and pets might bring these in with them, we don't allow pets in to the hospital.
That doesn't mean we think your pets are dirty! It's just that all animals carry lots of micro-organisms around with them that normally cause no problem. But when children are very sick they might catch an infection from these which they wouldn't normally.
Your parents can bring in photos or videos of your pets to show you any time, of course.
No. There are TVs on the wards.
If your parents have a portable TV that runs off mains electricity and want to bring this in so you don't miss your favourite programme, they are welcome to but will need to have it checked out by the hospital electricians before it can be used on the ward. The nurses or pre-admission team will tell you about that if you ask them.
There is a school at the hospital! The teachers can come on to the ward to carry on with your school work if you are going to miss a lot of school. If you are well enough to leave the ward but not quite well enough to go home, the school has a fully equipped classroom in the hospital for you to have lessons in.
In some ways, we hope you do - because that means you are getting better! But we don't want you to stay bored.
Your parents can bring in your favourite toys and games with you, so talk to them about what you would like to pack. If you are staying with us for more than a week or two and it's not in the holidays, the school staff will come and see you about carrying on with your school work.
We encourage your parents and family to visit as often as they can. The Arts Department often has creative things for you to do during your stay. The wards have TVs and radio, but you can also bring in your own portable entertainment devices such as an iPod. (If it runs off main electricity, it will need to be checked - ask about that on the ward.) And in many cases you can walk around as you get better, perhaps visiting the Play department or the restaurant with your parents.
Yes, including things like physiotherapy sessions. The only times when your parents or guardian cannot be with you are after you have had a general anaesthetic and are taken into theatre for your operation, but even then the doctors will tell them how things are going or if it is taking longer than expected and you will get to be with your family again as soon as you have recovered enough from the anaesthetic.
If you are unfortunate enough to be separated from your parents for any reason, such as if you are in foster care, then your foster parents or guardian can stay with you.
Some treatments mean you will have to stay with us for a while, with others you can just come and see us for the day. Some can take less than an hour, such as some physiotherapy; but others can take several hours, such as some operations. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long each treatment should take each time you need it, and how soon they will be able to tell that the treatments have worked.
If you have spent a long time in hospital, say several weeks or longer, then it starts to feel a lot like home. We try to make it as much like home as possible, so your time in hospital is as pleasant as it can be.
But that can mean that going back home once you are well enough is a bit like leaving the place you felt at home in, to go back to a place you haven't seen in a fairly long time.
This is natural. Your family and friends will help you to get used to home again, and it won't be long before your time in hospital seems like a long time ago. You will probably have to come back for a check-up or for more treatment as an outpatient, so going home isn't the last you will see of the hospital. But your home is where you belong once you are well - and it will feel like that very quickly after you get back.
Your doctor will tell you about the treatment before you start any, and how soon it will make you better.
If you need surgery to make you well, it might be possible to tell just after the operation or it might take a few days. For conditions needing medicines to treat, it might take some time before the effects of any treatment are known.
If you have had a general anaesthetic or a strong medicine, these can make you feel sick before you start to get better, so don't be disheartened if you start out feeling worse!
This is what we want you to do, but only when you are well enough. The doctors and nurses don't want to keep you at the hospital any longer than they have to, but how long you need to stay depends on what was wrong with you and how well the treatment has worked. Your doctor or the nurses will say when they expect you to go home, and explain if there is anything they need to keep you here a bit longer for.
Hundreds! We are one of the largest children's hospitals in the country, and we see children from all over the country and even from abroad. It's fair to say there are very few conditions we don't treat. If you have something wrong with you, you first of all need to see your GP. They will then decide if you need to come and see us.
This all depends on what is wrong. For some things, like a broken arm, you probably won't need to see the doctor more than once or twice, but you might need physiotherapy for a while longer. For others, like leukaemia or some heart conditions, you will need to see the doctors, nurses and teams of people who are trying to make you better for a long time - sometimes for years. What is important is that we all want to make you better, so you are well enough NOT to see anyone at the hospital again! But we need to be very sure you are as well as you can be. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if they need to see you again.
Most appointments to be seen by the doctor are in the main outpatients department, and most doctors hold set clinic times during the week when they see the children they have appointments for. These run from about 8.30 in the morning, all the way through the day until after 4.00 in the afternoon. The outpatients staff will be glad to advise you and your parents about what times are available, and so will the doctor's secretary. The phone numbers to contact are given on the letter sent out for the first appointment. Your appointment might not be in the main outpatients, but again the letter sent to your parents will have phone numbers on so that they can change the appointment time if it is not convenient.
If you are coming in to stay with us for a while, you will be seen by the doctors or nurses who are going to look after you on the ward. For many things, you might get to see the pre-admissions team, who will talk to you and your parents about coming into hospital, or there could be a liaison nurse who will meet you in a consultation room and talk about your treatment, explain things to you and your parents and reassure you about anything you are worried about.
If you are visiting us just for the day (on Surgical or Medical Day Care), you will be seen on the Day Care Units. If you are coming in to see the doctor or nurse and are not going to stay on a ward, you will be seen either in the main Outpatients Department, or as an outpatient in the department of whoever is looking after you (such as the Eye Department, or Physiotherapy).