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Children’s Services

Fact Sheets

As paediatric specialists we understand how stressful it is when a child needs to go to the hospital. It is often a time when both the child and parents feel vulnerable. We will be working with you to make sure you and your child are fully prepared, informed, and supported. The purpose of this guide is to provide you with some information to help make the experience a positive one for you and your child.

Children’s reaction to hospitalization varies and hence making your child feel safe and secure is the best possible way to ensure a positive response. Most hospitals encourage you to be involved in your child’s care to the level you feel most comfortable. You can also board in with your child if an overnight stay is required.

Introduce the topic in an open and honest way. Talk to your child about any concerns or fears they may have towards hospitalisation and let them know their reactions are quite normal. There are many good resource books and videos available through your local bookstore or library that can assist you.

The younger the child the less ability they will have to understand. A young child will be most concerned with separation from his/ her parents. Bringing a familiar toy, blanket or pillow along to the hospital may be helpful.

Talking with your older child and allowing them to ask questions is a better way to understand how they feel about hospital visits. You may also want to arrange a hospital pre-admission visit to get acquainted with the staff, the day surgery or ward environment and to learn about routines and procedures.

Pre-admission Visit

You can arrange this directly with the hospital at any time to suit your needs. An Admissions Coordinator or a member of the nursing staff will conduct your tour in the lead up to your admission date. Your child will be shown around the day surgery or ward area and will be introduced to the staff.

The tour will enable you to learn about your child’s pre- and post-operative care, such as:

  • What to bring with you
  • Wearing a hospital gown and cap
  • Taking your child’s temperature, pulse and blood pressure
  • The visit from the anaesthetist
  • Pre-operative tests such as x-rays or blood tests
  • Maintaining your child’s privacy
  • Pain relief medication
  • The recovery process
  • Going home

You and your child are encouraged to ask questions during the tour. You may also be given some additional handouts to take home with you.

What to bring to hospital

Involve your child in packing his/her bag for hospital and make sure you include a special toy, pillow or other comforting item. The following items may be helpful:

  • Change bag and nappies
  • Bottles for milk, juice or water
  • Feeding cup
  • Light snack which your child enjoys
  • A spare change of clothes
  • A favourite game or book to read

*Remember to bring in your own bag if you are planning to stay overnight with your child. It is best to avoid carrying valuables with you. Most hospitals will ask that mobile phones be turned off while inside the building.

You will also be required to have the following items:

  • Any x-rays relating to your child’s hospital admission
  • Any current medication your child is taking and the dosage
  • Health insurance information
  • Your medicare card
  • A health care card if relevant

On the day of surgery

During the admission process, you will complete a consent form and receive a copy of the same. Once you have filled in the necessary forms you will be escorted to the ward or day surgery area.

Your child will be given a name band for their wrist or ankle. The nurse will take a set of baseline observations such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure, height and weight. The staff will let you know when to dress your child with the provided hospital gown and cap.

When the anaesthetist sees your child before surgery, they may discuss any allergies or previous problems withanaesthetics, current medications, the type of anaesthesia to be administered, and how to manage during the post-operative phase (until the anaesthesia wears off).


Your child will be fasting before the operation. Prior to your child’s surgery, the nursing staff will let you know the fasting times for your child.

It is important for your child to have an empty stomach. Fasting is done to prevent the accidental aspiration (inhalation) of vomited stomach contents into the lungs while under anaesthesia. If your child is not properly fasted, surgery will have to be cancelled and rescheduled.

We understand that this may be a very difficult time for your child and your family.Feel free to ask questions at any time.

For more information regarding this topic please refer to the Anaesthesia section on this site.

Going to Theatre

To make the journey to theatre as pleasant as possible, most hospitals will allow you to accompany your child. Some doctors will allow you to enter the theatre and be with your child as the anaesthetic takes effect. If you choose to go with your child into theatre you may be required to wear a gown, cap and shoe covers provided by the hospital. This is to prevent any possible contaminants entering into the sterile area. While your child is in surgery, you will be escorted back to the parents’ lounge or the waiting area.


Your child will be transferred to the recovery room after the operation. You will let know and can usually be with your child in the recovery room as they wake up. The nurse in charge will closely monitor your child’s pulse, oxygen level and breathing and ensures your child is safe and comfortable. The trained staff will take care of your child until they are well enough to go back home.

If you have any concerns or questions, please discuss with the nursing staff or anaesthetist.

Going home

Your doctor will see your child prior to being discharged from the hospital. You will be given instructions regarding your child care and contact phone numbers for should you have queries or concerns after leaving hospital. To ensure the best possible outcome from surgery it is important you follow the recommended post-operative instructions carefully.

A post-operative appointment to see your child’s doctor will be scheduled. This may be sent by post or given to you on your child’s discharge from hospital.