Take a look at what hospitals provide to help families make the best of a difficult situation.
Children’s Hospital Inpatient Services
If your child will be in a regular, inpatient room, here’s what should be provided:
• A fold-out bed and bedding so at least one parent can spend the night.
• Access to the floor’s galley kitchen for occasional snacks and something to drink.
• Bathroom and shower facilities.
• A visit from a child life specialist.
• Internet access for your lap top or access to public computers.
• A map of the hospital and/or directions to the cafeteria, coffee shop, and other services.
• An explanation of parking locations and fees.
• A visiting hours schedule for siblings and extended family members.
• Access to a playroom and activities for children.
• Access to age-appropriate television channels, DVDs, and video games.
• A cafeteria schedule and perhaps a menu.
Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Services
Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) services vary from hospital to hospital. Depending on the unit’s layout and the fragility of a child’s condition, here’s what they might offer:
• Individual NICU or PICU rooms where parents can stay with children, day and night.
• A NICU or PICU ward parents can visit day or night with nearby private sleeping rooms for parents or a large waiting room for catnaps.
• Hospital meals delivered for nursing mothers or parents of children in critical condition.
Regional and General Hospital Services
If your child is at a smaller, regional hospital, many of the services listed above may not be standard practice. However, your child needs parents close by throughout the hospital stay. So politely ask for what you need (a fold-out bed, bedding, etc.) in order to stay in your child’s room overnight. If the request is denied, ask to speak to a supervisor. If that doesn’t get results, call your doctor.
Your child needs the security of your presence during a hospital stay. You need to be your child’s voice. Stay calm and keep asking until your request is granted. Don’t give up!