Preparing your child for hospital

Hospital can be a daunting place for anyone, let alone a child. From the time of your arrival, particular attention is payed to comforting your child during their stay. There are many things that you can do as a parent to address the anxiety and fear that is often associated with a hospital admission.

Please read the information provided, as this will advise you on how to prepare your child before and during their hospital stay.

Preparation for Surgery

  • Be open and honest with your child about why they need to come to hospital. Preparation is the key to a positive experience for the majority of children.
  • It is advised that you prepare your child a week or two beforehand so that your child has the opportunity to ask questions and find out relevant information regarding their hospital admission.
  • Books and stories containing information regarding  a child’s journey in a hospital setting are always a good place to start, as they are a comprehensive teaching tool that will prepare your child for his/her hospital admission. An informative site to log onto in regards to preparing your child for surgery is:
  • Plenty of hospital play is advised prior to the admission date as it familiarises the child to the equipment that they may see around the hospital setting. Toy medical kits, bandages are always a good starting point when working with your child.
  • Use language that is appropriate to your child’s cognitive abilities. For example under the age of six use simple words that your child can understand and process.
  • If you are unsure as to what to say to your child please contact a Play Therapist on (02 6142 6156) who will advise you on what is the best way to speak to your child.
  • Pre-admission tours can be arranged through the Play Therapist if you are at all concerned for your child’s wellbeing.  Tours are usually conducted a week prior to your child's admission date.
  • Individual booklets can be arranged for those children who need extra attention to help them understand the reason as to why they are coming to hospital.
  • Tours are conducted according to your needs. The Play Therapist will show your child around the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and familiarise your child with medical equipment that they may come across during their stay. For example, blood pressure machines, IV drips, O2 saturation monitors and any other equipment that may be necessary during their stay.
  • Lastly, reassure your child before coming to hospital. Let the child know that you can stay with them until they go to sleep and that you will be with them in recovery after the surgery has finished.
  • The Play Therapist is available Monday to Friday. Please do not hesitate to contact the Play Therapist if you have any concerns.

Important Points to Remember

  • Preparation is the key.
  • Be open and honest with your child.
  • Encourage your child to prepare for hospital, for example packing their bag and or bringing their favourite toys with them.
  • Allow time for readjustment when you child goes home.

Kids Information

  • Remember to bring your favourite toy or something that will help comfort you during your stay.
  • Help mum to pack your bag as you there may be something special that you may want to bring with you.
  • Talk to mum or dad about any worries that you may have before coming to hospital.

If you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to ask the nurses or the Play Therapist, as we are only too happy to assist you in relation to your concerns.