Preparing for a Visit
Helpful guidelines to prepare your child for the hospital
When your child is scheduled for a trip to the hospital, taking a few simple steps will help prepare your child for the experience. As a parent, you know best how much information your child needs and can understand.
- Give simple explanations using words and concepts your child can understand.
- Answer your child’s questions honestly.
- Explain that the procedure will help your child get better. Children relate to reasons like, “It will help you be strong and healthy” or “It will help your body do its job.”
- Explain the time-frame of the procedure so that your child understands when the procedure will take place, how long the hospital visit will be and that you will be there.
- Encourage your child to talk about the hospital visit and to ask questions.
- If your child is having surgery, explain that your child will not feel, hear or see anything during the surgery because of a special medicine that will help your child take a nap. It also will be important for your child to know that once surgery is over, the doctors will stop giving the special medicine and your child will wake up.
- Try to answer questions if you do not know the answers. Tell your child you will find out. Your child’s nurses, doctors or Child Life Specialists can help provide the answers.
- Promise your child that there will be no pain. Children respond to varying levels of pain in different ways. Your child’s care team is trained to help keep your child as comfortable as possible.
- Promise there will be no needles or make any other promises that you may not be able to keep.
Children’s Hospital admission tour (CHAT)
Touring the hospital a few days before being admitted allows your child to experience the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the hospital. A certified Child Life Specialist leads the tour, answers questions and provides a medical play session appropriate to your child’s level of understanding. To schedule your tour, contact Child Life at 803-434-2151.
Your child’s room
To make your child more comfortable, bring a few personal items from home, such as a favorite toy or game, blanket or pacifier, books, favorite pajamas and photos of family, friends and pets.
If your child’s doctor has not ordered a special diet, you are encouraged to help choose your child’s meals from a special children’s menu each morning. Let your care team know if your child has any special food requests.
Children’s Hospital dietitian
Our registered dietitian will take care of your child’s special dietary needs. If your doctor recommends a special diet after you leave the hospital, the dietitian will consult with you to answer any questions.
The Child Life team plans a variety of activities to help keep your child engaged while in the hospital. These include pet therapy, music therapy, arts and crafts, special visitors, concerts and events. They will keep you advised of activities available during your child’s stay.
Ronald McDonald Family Room
This special room on the first floor of Prisma Health Children’s Hospital is a haven for families with hospitalized children. The Ronald McDonald Family Room provides coffee, snacks, Wi-Fi and local telephone service. The room is open: Monday through Friday. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.–noon. A coffee hour for families is offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings,10–11:30 a.m. with fresh fruit and pastries. The Ronald McDonald Family Room is funded by the Ronald McDonald House Charities and is staffed by volunteers. Please note that if a volunteer is not available, the room will not be open.