Staying at the hospital as an inpatient
Children as who have been admitted as inpatients stay at the hospital while receiving the care and treatment they need. Inpatients may only need to stay in hospital for a short time, for instance if they are admitted for a surgical procedure, however children with serious injuries or chronic illnesses may need to stay at the hospital for longer. If your child is admitted as an inpatient at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, there are support services and facilities available to help make being away from home less burdensome.
Staying overnight with your child
One parent or carer can stay overnight with their child in his or her room. Most bedrooms in the hospital are in single rooms with an ensuite and built-in bed for a parent or carer. Shared rooms also have an ensuite and a place at the bedside for a parent or carer to stay.
If your child is in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), a limited number of single overnight rooms are available on Level 5. Each of these rooms has access to a shared parent lounge, kitchenette and bathroom facilities. Ask nursing staff about these rooms if you think you might need one.
Breastfeeding mothers and parents in PICU staying overnight will be provided with a meal. Other parents and carers who stay overnight have access to tea/coffee, condiments, bread and use of sandwich presses.
Please advise nursing staff if you choose to bring food from home onto the ward. All food must be labelled and stored in an airtight container. Labels are available in the family lounge areas. For the safety of others, raw meat, chicken or eggs and products containing nuts are not allowed. To assist other families please do not store cooler bags in the fridge and remove all of your food items before leaving the hospital.
Please note, the Queensland Children’s Hospital follows established safe sleeping guidelines for babies and infants. This means they should sleep on their backs unless there is a medical reason for sleeping in another position. While you might sleep with your child at home, we cannot allow this in the hospital as we cannot provide a safe sleeping surface for co-sleeping. If you have questions about this, please ask a staff member.
Helping your child cope with their hospital experience
Our staff will do their very best to make you and your child welcome, but the unfamiliar, clinical environment of a hospital can still be daunting. To help you and your child feel more comfortable:
- Ask the nurse caring for your child to help you to explain what is happening and why.
- Ask staff any questions you or your child have.
- Do not leave your child without saying goodbye and always tell your child when you will return.
- Also inform nursing staff if you are leaving and when you will return. Leave your contact details with ward staff in case they need to contact you urgently.
Medical and diagnostic procedures are a necessary part of medical care; however they can be frightening and sometimes painful for children.
Parents/caregivers can help children by doing the following:
- Prepare yourself and your child for what they might experience (with help from the medical and nursing staff). Simple and accurate information is best.
- Play and laugh – it helps to distract their thoughts away from the procedure
- If appropriate for the procedure, remain close and provide comforting touch, especially for infants and young children.
- Give them some choice, such as whether they sit on your knee or on the bed for the procedure.
- Breathing and relaxation can help relieve pain and anxiety – these can be practiced beforehand.
- Praise your child for their efforts during the procedure, even if it is something small like helping take a band-aid off. This this reinforces the way they coped so they can do so again next time.
- Acknowledge the end of a procedure when it is finished, and give any pre-agreed rewards.
It doesn’t help to:
- Tell your child a procedure won’t hurt if it will or that a procedure is planned.
- Make fun of them eg. ‘only babies cry’.
- Use needles as a threat.
- Focus too much on the pain. This might increase their perception of how much it hurts and not focus on how well they coped.