• Advice from Families

    We understand that preparing for your child's hospital stay can be stressful and overwhelming. Here are some helpful hints gathered from other families at Cincinnati Children's.

  • You may consider packing:

    • Comfortable clothes that you can wear while sleeping in a chair
    • Comfortable shoes because you may stand a lot by your child's bed
    • Sweater or light jacket because sometimes it gets cool
    • Pager, if you have one, so that you can feel more comfortable going to get something to eat or so your children at home can contact you
    • Hand lotion because you will wash your hands more than you normally do
    • ChapStick, mints or hard candy, and face cream because the air tends to be dry
    • Glasses and a hard case in case your contact lenses become uncomfortable
    • Toiletries including feminine items
    • Medications you take regularly including birth control pills
    • Your favorite headache remedy, just in case
    • Snacks and breakfast foods so you don't miss rounds
    • Water bottle, juice, tea bags, etc., to have handy
    • Change for vending machines
    • Copy of your child's medical history, list of medications, insurance card, etc.
    • Magazines, books or other reading material
    • Laptop to keep family and friends informed on your child's progress
    • Note cards, stamps, address book to stay on top of thank you notes
    • Head set with tapes
    • Needlework or knitting

    Caring friends might ask, "What can I do?" Tell them what would be most helpful to you and your family. Here are some examples:

    • Bring food to your home, especially when you first get home
    • Bring in the mail and / or the newspaper
    • Feed the pets
    • Cut or water the grass
    • Pick up basic items such as milk when they go to the grocery store
    • Help family members at home keep up the laundry
    • Take your children who are at home to their routine events, like swimming or baseball practice, and tend to their emotional needs if necessary
    • Bring lunch or dinner to you at the hospital
    • Bring a change of clothes, mail or other items to you at the hospital
    • Come visit with you for a while, no conversation is necessary, just be there with you
    • Sit with your child for a while so you can take a break or a shower
    • Spend a few hours in your home answering the phone so you can sleep (They can wake you if the hospital calls.)

    Here are some tips when communicating with your child's health care team:

    • Ask your child's nurse when your child's doctor(s) usually make their rounds. Be prepared. Many make rounds early in the morning. You may choose to be included in rounds at your child's bedside, outside the room or not at all.
    • You know your child best. Be clear, in a nice way, about your child's needs.
    • There is no such thing as a dumb question. Do not hesitate to ask to have something explained again or in a different way.
    • Write down questions as you think of them. You may be tired or stressed and forget some of your questions during rounds.
    • Your child's nurse can also answer many of your questions so you do not have to wait for rounds. If you have an important question that the nurse cannot answer and cannot wait until rounds, a doctor can be paged.
    • If your child has a complicated history, write a summary. This can cut down on how often you have to "tell your story."
    • Take notes. Fatigue and stress can make it hard to remember things.

    The best thing your can do for your child is to take care of yourself.

    • Take a break!
    • Eat properly
    • Try to get enough sleep
    • Call a friend
    • Keep a journal
    • Keep a log of who saw your child, procedures and dates, etc.
    • Know that it is okay to ask for help
  • Take a Tour

    Before you and your child come to Cincinnati Children's for surgery, take a virtual tour of our main campus facility.

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