What to Expect During Your Child's Outpatient Visit

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offers outpatient services in a number of locations in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including the Philadelphia Campus. To help you prepare for your child's outpatient visit, the following information explains what you can expect once you've made an appointment at one of our locations.

What to bring with you

  • Appointment information
  • Doctor's name
  • Department building name/location
  • Name and telephone number of your referring physician
  • Name and telephone number of family physician (if different from above)
  • Insurance cards
  • Insurance referral and authorizations (please call your insurance company before your appointment if you're unsure of exactly what you’ll need)
  • Immunization record
  • Medical or personal records (including (X-rays and lab tests) requested by the outpatient office you are scheduled to visit
  • A list of questions you may have for the physician, and if your child is old enough, a list of his questions
  • Social security number of the patient and both parents (for insurance purposes)
  • If the child's name has been legally changed, his birth certificate
  • Another adult to assist if you have other children with you
  • Books, games, snacks, formula, diapers, change of baby clothes or other necessities (please do not bring food if your child must fast for testing)
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has two cafeterias on campus, a convenience store and vending machines. Please visit our Food page to learn more.

Preparing your child

Visiting a doctor's office or hospital for any reason can be stressful for children of all ages. These tips can help you prepare your child for his visit, so he feels more comfortable about his upcoming outpatient appointment.

  • Very young children don’t understand the concept of time. If your child is under 5, start the conversation just one or two days before your visit. Older children will need more prep time; plan to tell them about one to two weeks before your appointment, depending on your child’s age.
  • When describing the reason for your appointment, use simple words that your child will understand.
  • You may be tempted to tell your child things that aren't true. If something will hurt, say so. Being honest with your child will help him trust you and the people he will meet at the doctor's office or the Hospital.
  • If you do not know the answer to your child's question, tell your child that you don't know, but that you will find out.
  • Encourage your child to discuss her feelings and to ask you questions. You may find that she is worrying about something that will not happen.
  • Be careful not to force a discussion if your child does not seem ready.

Next Steps