Family and Friends
Visiting Hours are from noon to 9:00 pm for persons 12 years or older. If your child is in the hospital for longer than four days and you wish to have a visitor under 12 years of age, please check with your nurse first. It is important that all visitors are healthy and do not bring in germs from outside. Family and friends can call from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm. In the interests of quiet and rest, the telephone will not accept incoming messages after 9:00 pm.
When a Child Visits a Child
When may a healthy child visit a hospitalized child?
If a child's hospitalization lasts four days or more, special arrangements can be made for children under 12 years to visit. Please check with the nurse before bringing a young visitor to the floor.
How long should a child visit?
It is recommended that the visit last for one hour or less. A hospitalized child may need to rest, and children who visit sometimes become bored or overwhelmed. The visiting child must always be supervised by an adult during the visit.
When is it NOT safe to have a child visit a child?
Visiting children may have infectious illnesses which may not affect healthy children at all, but can cause severe problems for hospitalized children. Before they visit anyone in the hospital, the following questions must be reviewed with the nurse in charge of the patient unit:
- Has the visiting child had a recent exposure to a contagious illness, for instance, chicken pox or measles?
- Does the visiting child have all of his or her immunizations up to date?
- Is the visiting child currently ill with fever, a cold, cough, sore throat, red eyes, rash, runny nose or diarrhea?
If the visiting child becomes ill within two days after the visit, please notify the nurse in charge of the unit even if your formerly hospitalized child has already gone home by that time.
How can you prepare the visiting child for what to expect?
Describe what the child may see. For example, children in the hospital may have special equipment in the room such as IV poles, a traction machine or "beeping" monitors. Point out routines such as mealtimes, playtimes, school and bedtime. These familiar routines help the hospital appear less threatening. Encourage the visiting child to ask questions and answer them as honestly as you can. If you are unsure about what to say, please feel free to ask the doctors, nurses, social workers or child life specialist for assistance.
What can the visiting child do during a visit?
Ask the visiting child what he or she would like to do. Does he or she have a favorite puzzle or book to share? Children enjoy being helpful and feeling needed. Helping the child make cards or pictures to decorate the hospital room might be a fun activity.
What should be done after the child visits the hospital?
Talk to the child about the visit. Was the hospital how he or she expected it to be? Children often feel relieved when they see where their brother or sister is staying. Sometimes children may become frightened. Again, answer questions as honestly as you can.
And remember, we are available to help with any concerns you may have regarding a child's visit.