We know it may be a worrying time for you knowing that your child will be coming to hospital for an operation and in some cases staying afterwards as an inpatient on our wards. This page has everything you need to help you and your child prepare for your child’s operation and stay with us.
Waiting for your operation
Once it’s been decided that your child needs an operation they will usually be added to the waiting list unless it is an urgent operation.
If anything changes whilst you’re waiting then please do let us know by calling the hospital and asking to speak to the consultant or medical team you arranged the operation with. The phone number for the relevant department may be on any previous hospital letters or search our services:
Once your child is at the top of the list you’ll be contacted with the date, time and more information about coming in for the operation or procedure and for a pre-assessment.
You’ll see the date for your child’s admission on the hospital letter along with details about where to go when you arrive at the hospital and any pre-assessment information.Information:
If you need to change the admission date then please call the number on the letter as soon as you can to arrange a different date. You can also use the same number to let us know if you or your child has any special needs, such as an interpreter or signer.
The pre-assessment appointment is likely to be a few weeks before the operation date. The appointment is to make sure everything is in place and ready for the operation to go ahead safely. At the appointment we’ll let you know what to expect on the day, ask you some questions about your child’s health and it’s also a chance for you and your child can ask any questions or mention any worries either of you have.
Helping you with any worries
The pre-assessment appointment is a great opportunity to talk about any worries you or your child has, no matter how small you think it is. We know it can be a worrying time and we’re here to help.
What to bring to hospital
Each bed has a small bedside cupboard so please only bring items that you can store in there. We’d recommend you don’t bring any valuables as the cupboard doesn’t lock and we can’t accept liability for anything that goes missing.
Here’s a suggested list of what to bring:
- your child’s admission letter and any other information we have sent you
- your child’s medical information and/or their health record (red book)
- any medicines or inhalers that your child is taking or using
- any mobility aids, such as crutches, and glasses or hearing aids, if your child has them
- comfortable loose clothing and pyjamas
- washbag with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, towel and face cloth
- plenty of nappies, if your child is wearing them
- baby milk if your child still has milk
- a favourite soft toy or blanket (please label the toy with your child’s name)
- a few books or toys to distract your child while they wait
- proof of entitlement to benefits if you’d like to be reimbursed for travel costs
Before coming to hospital
Preventing infection in hospital is important to us for the safety of all our patients, staff and visitors. So if your child has been exposed to an infection such as chicken pox or has developed a cough, cold, diarrhoea or vomiting in the three days before their admission, then please let us know. You can call the number on your hospital letter.
Confirming with the ward
We recommend that you call your child’s ward the night before admission to confirm the bed is still available. Very occasionally we may need to give priority to an emergency case and postpone your child’s admission.
Eating and drinking before the operation
The letter and pre-assessment appointment will have confirmed about the eating and drinking guidelines for before the operation. It’s important that your child has an empty tummy so please make sure to follow the guidelines you were given so that the operation doesn’t need to be delayed or cancelled.
Arriving at the hospital
Our hospitals can be busy so make sure you check the travel and parking arrangements before you come to hospital as well as the location map for where you need to go and allow plenty of time.
Your child’s admission letter will provide details of where to go in the hospital and our receptionists will be happy to guide you.
When you arrive at the ward please press the buzzer outside the door and use the hygienic gel dispenser to clean your hands before entering. You’ll be welcomed by a ward clerk or nurse.
If you’ve brought any medicines for your child with you then please give these to the nurse.
Consenting to treatment
Your child’s medical team will explain any treatment and why they think it’s right for your child, before it is carried out. They’ll also answer any questions you may have. If your child is under 16 years old then you’ll be asked to sign a consent form for the treatment to happen.
On the ward
Our children’s wards
Our children’s wards include:
- Bluefin Ward, Worthing Hospital
- Bluefin Day Case Ward, Worthing Hospital
- Howard Ward, St Richard’s Hospital
- Children’s Medical Ward, The Alex
- Children’s Surgical Ward, The Alex
- Children’s Medical and Daycase Ward, The Alex
- Children’s Oncology Day Care Ward, The Alex
- Children’s Critical Care Ward, The Alex
We welcome visitors to our wards. Please see our visiting page for the latest visitors times and information. Special arrangements can be made with the ward for anyone who needs to visit outside of visiting times.
Any siblings and other children on the wards will need to be supervised by their parents.
Breakfast is between 8am and 9am, lunch is between 12 noon and 1pm and dinner between is 5pm and 6pm. Your child can choose from a variety of meal options but do tell the ward housekeeper or nurse if your child has special dietary needs.
Parents are welcome to help their child with their meals but we ask that visitors don’t come during mealtimes if possible.
Drinks are also served during the day and with meals. There are also a number of shops and cafes throughout the hospital serving snacks and meals.
Your child’s safety
Your child’s safety is very important to us. We have 24-hour security staff and a comprehensive security system. Please tell your child’s nurse if you’re taking your child away from the ward and supervise your other children when they’re visiting.
Your doctor and nurse will help you plan for your child’s discharge from hospital. They may ask you about your home situation and what support you might need. If medicine is needed then the pharmacist will give you a supply of medicines to take home and information on using them.
When you leave the hospital do make sure you have the contact details of who to call if you have any concerns. Also make sure that you’re aware of any symptoms to watch out for. Check when you might need to return for an outpatients appointment and if there’s any community support services to support you.