Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Staying in the hospital

Sometimes a child is too ill or injured to go home after an emergency room visit. Doctors then will recommend that your child be admitted to the hospital. Your child will be moved to another floor and placed in a room, sometimes alone, sometimes with other children. If you wish, you can ask if a private room is available. You might check with your insurance company to find out whether a private room will be covered if it’s not considered to be medically necessary.

Again, try to remain with your child if she is admitted. Use the telephone in the room or your cell phone to notify your family, friends, and workplace. If you left the house without clothes, toys, games, or books for your child, ask a family member or friend to collect these items and bring them to the hospital. Also, have them bring a change of clothes and toothbrush for you.

When your child settles in, a nurse will probably come into the room, introduce herself, and take vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate). The nurse may ask you to repeat information that you already gave to the emergency room staff. This may seem repetitive, but you may have forgotten an important detail in the emergency room. It’s important for you to provide complete information and answer questions.

The nurse should explain what will happen that night. For example, if your child has a concussion, the nurse may need to wake her up every hour. If the nurse doesn’t explain the first night’s plan, do not hesitate to ask.

My 7-year-old daughter had a lengthy, complicated seizure, and was admitted to the hospital through the emergency room. I assured her that I would stay with her and take care of her. I told her it might be stressful in the hospital, but we would make time for fun. I talked about how cool it would be to watch TV in bed all day. We found a computer to play with (a big treat) and had my husband bring in games and coloring books. The fun things really helped her cope.