Heart Center: What to Expect
If your visit is for the day only (outpatient)
Your doctor may be sending you to Children's for only the day (even if your child is having surgery). You'll still have access to all our special services and care, and here are a few extra tips:
What to bring
- Insurance information and other important documents (X-rays or other pertinent medical records).
- Your child's immunization record.
- Your child's favorite stuffed animal or toy.
If your child is having day surgery, you will be scheduled for a pre-surgical assessment appointment. At that time, you will get important information about preparing for surgery, such as limiting food and drink in the hours before surgery. Please follow the instructions carefully. If you have questions, please call your doctor or the Children's pre-surgical assessment nursing staff at 214-456-5454.
If you'll be spending the night (inpatient)
We encourage parents to stay with their children while they are hospitalized. Each patient room has accommodations for one parent to stay, including a chair or sofa that converts into a single bed. A private bath is also in each room. Food is available in our cafeteria, and you also may purchase a tray for yourself to be delivered with your child's meal.
For other family members, we recommend nearby hotels. Our social services department offers a reservation service known as "Suite Dreams" to help families with medical needs receive discounted rates at local hotels. For Suite Dreams assistance, call 1-800-955-ROOM. The social services department also can make referrals to the Ronald McDonald House for families of patients.
What to bring
- Your child's robe and slippers and favorite stuffed animal or toy (A favorite stuffed toy can serve as a "security blanket" and accompany your child into surgery, the recovery room or the intensive care unit).
- Extra clothing for you and your child.
- All medicines taken by your child (give to your nurse when checking in).
- Insurance information and other important documents, including your child's immunization record.
- Any medications or other items parents will need while away from home.
Suggestions for parents
Child life specialists at Children's suggest you prepare your child for his stay by considering these ideas:
- If children are old enough to understand, tell them in advance about the upcoming hospital stay. Older children can be told about their medical condition, the procedures required and other details about hospitalization earlier than younger children. A younger child generally should not be told until a few days before the hospitalization.
- Try to answer your child's questions about the hospital honestly. You may want to try to explain what the child can expect while at the hospital.
- Reassure your child that you or another family member will be nearby while your child is in the hospital to make sure he or she is all right.
- Pack some special items from home. Familiar objects will help your child feel more comfortable in a strange place. A favorite toy can serve as a security blanket and can accompany your child into surgery, the recovery room or to the intensive care unit.
- Siblings may find a child's hospitalization almost as stressful as the patient does. The best way to alleviate their fears is to bring them with you on a visit to the hospital. Probe for and correct any misconceptions your children may have about a brother's or sister's illness or about hospital procedures. After the hospitalization is over, set aside time for communication and activities with each child individually.
- Remember, our child life staff is here to help. If you need more information or would like to speak with a child life specialist directly, please feel free to contact the child life department at 214-456-6280.