Staying in Hospital

Some hospitals have parent’s accommodation on site where you can book a room for the night. Many parents opt for rooming in with their child and hospitals generally provide a fold up mattress for this. Be sure to collect yours early in the evening as these can be in short supply. It is a good idea to bring in your own pillow, sleeping bag and towels, if the admission is planned. Space is limited in rooms, so avoid over packing and large suitcases. Items to consider bringing would be night wear, slippers, wash-bag, phone charger, change for phone and vending machines. If there is a parents’ room on a ward with facilities, be sure to bring your own supply of tea/coffee and snacks from home, to cut down on costs. If a fridge is available to parents, always label your food with name and date, otherwise it will be thrown out.

Bring all of your child’s medications, dressing gown, slippers, light sleepwear and light day-wear. If your child is using nappies, the hospital usually requires you to bring your own. Most wards have play areas, but your child may not be well enough to leave their room, or be in isolation, in which case it is a good idea to bring in some favorite toys, DVDs and coloring or reading books, laptop or portable DVD player.

Make sure you have a notebook and pen with you all the time. Use it to write any questions or worries you have down so you can ask questions. It’s hard to think of everything when you are worried and sleep deprived!

ŸPlease, don’t be afraid to ask questions or to speak up if you don’t understand something.

ŸIf you need any extra assistance let the nursing staff know e.g. Positioning bed, bathing child, toileting, a short break for you.

ŸDon’t be afraid to rely on friends and family for help. Let people know what you need, e.g. meals sorted at home, washing, food brought in to hospital for you, change of clothes, someone to sit with your sick child to let you out for a walk etc. In most cases people are desperate to help.

ŸIt’s an expensive time, if you are struggling, get in contact with the social worker, Sometimes they can help with vouchers for meals in the canteen etc. Social workers are there to offer support, don’t be afraid to use them.

ŸWear layers of comfortable clothing. Hospitals can be very hot during the day and then you can get chilly at night, especially on a mattress on the floor!

ŸDon’t forget to eat and drink!

ŸTry as much as is possible to get some rest.

When a child with special needs is prone to many hospital stays it can be very hard on their siblings, especially the younger ones to cope. Here are a few tips we have picked up along the way.

Make a recording of their favourite bedtime story so it can be played to them when you are in the hospital.

ŸTry, as much as possible, to have the same people look after them for each hospital stay.

ŸTry and keep their routine as normal as possible.

ŸMake sure that their school is aware of the situation at home so they can offer extra support during the school day if required.

ŸGive them as much information as they can handle depending on their age and level of understanding. Let them know its ok to feel worried but that the doctors and nurses are taking very good care of their sibling.

If appropriate, bring them in for a visit.

Information when staying in Our lady’s Childrens Hospital Crumlin

Information when staying in Temple Street Childrens Hospital

Information when staying in Cork University Hospital

Useful childrens story about a trip to an operating theatre.

Download and print this child friendly ‘About Me’ information sheet for young and non verbal children.

Check out this handy Going to Hospital App


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