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A children’s guide to the hospital

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If you are injured by falling off your bike or have difficulty breathing, you might need to go to the hospital. If you are severely ill or need IV fluids, you might need surgery to remove your tonsils.
Although it may seem scary to visit a hospital, doctors, nurses and other hospital workers can help you feel better. Find out what happens inside a hospital.

Sometimes your doctor will decide that you should be admitted to the hospital. This means that you will need to stay over night. Your doctor may need to know about an issue in your body, or decide that you require special medicine, surgery, and other treatment. Your doctor will notify the hospital about your visit and then you will be directed to the admissions desk.

The emergency room is another way children might be admitted to hospital. If you feel very sick or injured, you might visit the emergency room (or ER), especially if your parent or doctor feels you need immediate medical attention. The nurses and doctors will help you feel better. If you have to stay over night at the hospital, someone on the staff will transport you and your parents back to your room.

You will likely see your parents fill out many papers when you visit the hospital. The hospital needs to know your name, address and phone number. They also need information about your birth date. Sometimes, you might be asked many questions, including your name, birthday, and whether or not you are in pain. It is a good idea to ask your parents or the nurse who is taking care of you if you are unable to understand a question.

Your Room

You may be given a room to yourself once you are admitted. Or you might share it with another child. You will find a bed in your room. There will be buttons that can move the bed up or down. You can draw a curtain around your bed to give you privacy while changing or resting. You can usually turn the lights on and off and push a button that will call the nurse if needed. Most likely, you will have a bathroom in the room.

Head on over to Intclinics to find your nearest A&E department.

You can use a television and telephone in many hospital rooms. You can bring items that will remind you of home if you are going to be staying in the hospital for longer than a few hours. These include photos of your family, books or toys, as well as favorite posters or pictures. To make your stay more comfortable, you might want to bring your favourite blanket and pillow.
Your Clothes

You can wear whatever you like in hospitals. You might need to wear a hospital gown to make it easier for the nurse or doctor to examine you. Slipper socks are usually provided by the hospital, but you can also bring your own.
Your Family

Nearly every hospital will allow one of your parents to stay with you at all times, even while you are sleeping in your bed. As long as there isn’t too much people around, siblings, brothers, grandparents and friends are welcome to visit during the day. You might even get balloons from them!

Hospital Personnel

From the moment you arrive to the time you leave, you will meet many people at the hospital. On your first day, you might meet up to 30 people!

Nurses will be there to help you get settled. They’ll also show you the hospital floor so that you know where everything is. Nurses will be there to help you every day while you are in hospital. They will check in on you every day to assess how you are feeling and provide any assistance if necessary. They will check your temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat every few hours. While you are ill, nurses will bring any medicine you need.

There will be many doctors at the hospital. There are two options: you can see your own doctor, or a doctor who is always in the hospital taking care of children. You might also see residents and medical students if you are in a hospital for children.

A medical specialist is a doctor who specializes in treating a specific type of medical problem. A cardiologist, for example, is a specialist in the care of the heart.

A lung specialist, or allergist, might be able to help with asthma.

You will be taken from one place to another by transport people; volunteers will bring coffee, play games, read with you, or watch videos in your playroom. Therapists will also show you how to use equipment such as crutches if you have them.

Children life specialists are available in some hospitals. They are there to help children feel more at ease and understand the world around them. Children life specialists can explain what a doctor or nurse does, such as placing an IV or taking someone to the operating table for surgery. These specialists can make you feel more at ease about certain things.

Take the Test

While you are in the hospital, you will likely have tests. These tests may not be the same as the ones you do in school. A blood test may be ordered by the doctor. This involves drawing blood from an arm vein. It may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it isn’t too painful. You may also need to provide urine (pee), or poop for other types of tests.

Sometimes, an X-ray or CAT scan will be required. These tests are performed using a special machine that takes a picture of various parts of your body. This allows doctors to examine your bones and tissues and help them determine if you are ill or not. You can either watch a video or ask your doctor or nurse to explain a test that you don’t understand.

If you are going to have surgery (that’s another name for having an operation), you will meet an anesthesiologist (say: an-us-THEE-zee-ahl-uh-jist) before the operation. An anesthesiologist’s job is to ensure that you are comfortable during surgery by administering special medications. You won’t feel any pain while your doctor is operating on you.

You won’t be allowed to eat breakfast the day before surgery because you cannot have an operation with a full stomach. Your body will still receive fluids via an IV, but don’t be alarmed. An IV is a small tube that delivers medicine or fluids to your body via a vein. It is usually found in your arm or hand.

Once it is time to have the operation, a transport worker will take you on a special mattress to the operating room where you will be given anesthesia. The hospital staff will inform you about what’s going on while you are still awake. Always ask questions if you have any concerns!

When you wake up after your operation, you will either be back in the room you were in before your surgery or in a special recovery area. This is where nurses can check on you to make sure everything is okay.

Keep Busy

Many hospitals have playrooms where you can find books, toys, art and crafts and other games. You will always find something to do. You can have toys brought to your room by someone else if you are unable to go to the playroom.

Many hospitals have televisions and video games. Some even have computers with games! You can bring them to your bed. Many hospitals for children have special visitors, such as clowns and story characters.
Keep up with schoolwork

There are many ways to make sure you don’t fall behind in school while you’re at the hospital. For children who have been in hospital for a while, many hospitals offer a classroom with a teacher.

If you are able to stay for a shorter time, your parents may send your schoolwork home or to the hospital. Your school will give you additional time if you aren’t feeling well or can’t keep up with schoolwork.
Being Nervous

When you go to the hospital, it’s normal for you to feel nervous and scared. Remember:

Your family will be there for you.
Many other children in the hospital are also going through the same thing.
Many people, such as nurses and doctors, are able to answer your questions. Ask! They are there to make sure you feel better and to make you feel more at ease.
You should feel better after spending some time in the hospital.