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What to Expect During Your Child's Inpatient Visit

Whether this is your child's first hospital stay or one of many, the experience can be stressful and disrupting, even in the best of circumstances. As a parent or caregiver, you play an important role in helping your child cope with his or her hospital experience.

Familiar routines such as bathing, dressing, feeding, reading and playing can help your child adjust. In addition, the more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you'll be to help your child know what to expect.

Items to bring for registration

To speed the process of getting registered when you arrive, please bring the following information with you:

When you arrive on the unit, your child's nurse will welcome you to your room and give you a tour. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Items to bring for an inpatient stay

You might want to bring some of these comforts from home, to help ease the transition for your child.

Necessities like diapers, soap, shampoo, pajamas and slipper socks are available on every unit, if you prefer not to bring your own.

Please do not bring electrical items such as irons, curling irons and humidifiers. These are not permitted due to fire and electrical safety concerns. Allowed electrical items are listed below, with some restrictions:

Please do not bring medications, unless your child's physician specifically requests that you do so. However, a list of medicines that your child takes will be helpful for the staff caring for your child.

Please label all personal items. The hospital cannot be responsible for any lost articles.

Play and activities while you're here

Most units have playrooms where patients and family members can play together and participate in activities that are familiar and age-appropriate. Playrooms are staffed by our Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy department. If your child is unable to visit the playroom, a child life specialist will make a bedside visit. Child life staff can also help you to borrow toys, crafts, books and games for your child.

There is also a family lounge on every unit, where families can relax, watch television and take a break.

Showers and sleeping arrangements

If your child is in a "single" room, you may use the shower in his/her bathroom. If your child's room does not have a shower, your child's nurse can direct you to a shower near the unit. If your child is in a "double" room, we ask that you not use the shower in the room. Your child's nurse can direct you to the closest shower facilities. Parents may also use the shower in The Connelly Resource Center for Families on the 8th floor of the Main Building.

One parent or guardian is invited to stay overnight at the bedside. Cots, sleep chairs and sleep sofas are available for your comfort. For those families who have children in one of the Intensive Care Units, where family members cannot sleep at their child's bedside, sleep rooms are available. Your child's nurse can help you sign up for a sleep room in this situation.

Food services for you and your child

Our Room Service meal program offers you and your child the ability to choose what you want to eat, when you want it. Our host or hostess will deliver a room service menu folder to your child's room. Parents and guests can order a food tray along with their child, or visit one of our two cafeterias.

For more detailed information about food services at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, including information about kosher options, availability of formula for babies, our convenience store and locations of vending machines, please visit our Food Services page.

Hospital amenities and services

For information about amenities at the Hospital, such as mail service, computer availability, banking options. language services and more, please visit our Hospital Amenities page.

Family Support and Resources

For information about support services and resources for families at the Main Hospital, such as Social Work, our Chaplaincy program and the Connelly Resource Center for Families, please visit our Family Support and resources page.

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