The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Patient and Family Guide to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia — Top 10 Tips for Kids

Lauren Sanguinetti, Youth Advisory Council Memeber: Hi. As a patient here, I've learned a number of things kids should know about the hospital that aren't in the family handbook. Ten to be exact.

Number 10. Stay busy. Bring some of your favorite things from home like your pillow, blanket, books, music, movies, and other stuff to help pass the time in those long hours when there is nothing on TV but soaps. Also, since the rooms don't have a clock, you may want to wear a watch or bring one from home.

Number 9. Invite company. Your nurse will fill you in on the visitor's policy. Parents can be here with you at any time. Brothers and sisters and friends can visit too, but only if you want them to. They also need to be healthy and follow some guidelines.

Number 8. Dress for success. They do give out hospital pajamas and slippers here, but you can usually wear your own stuff if you want. There's a place to do laundry, but it helps to bring changes of clothing, a robe, and slippers. If you're going to have surgery or other procedures, remember to bring clothes or pajamas that will fit over your cast or bandages.

Number 7. Bring in your own food. The cafeteria is pretty good, but if you get a craving for home cooking, your family can also bring in food for you. Each of the inpatient units has a refrigerator where food can be kept.

Number 6. Keep in touch. Remember to bring the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of any friends or family you want to stay in touch with. You may also want to get a phone card if you need to call out of town.

Number 5. Come out and play. Each of the inpatient units has an activity room. This is a place where you can play games, do arts and crafts, and hang out with other patients from your unit. If you cannot go to the playroom, the Child Life Specialist will be able to visit and bring you things to do in your room.

Number 4. Hit the books. If you're going to be here for a while, you might as well study. Have your parents or friends bring your school books and homework assignments. The hospital has teachers to help you keep up with your school work or help make arrangements for home tutoring if you're going to miss several weeks of school.

Number 3. Go to the library. The Connelly Family Library on the 8th floor has computers, magazines, books, and videos to check out. Friends and family can send you e-cards by visiting CHOP website at The Connelly Center librarian can also help you set up an e-mail account to help you stay connected.

Number 2. Say,"What?" Don't be shy about asking questions. Most kids say it helps to have as much information as possible and want to be involved in their own care. It can help to write your questions down on a piece of paper so you don't forget them. Your nurse, doctor and Child Life Specialist are good resources for helping you understand all about your illness or treatment.

Number 1. It's nice to share. Lastly, if you have any suggestions on how to make the hospital experience better for you or your family, please share them with your nurse or other staff. Some of the best ideas for how to treat kids come from us, the kids.