Visiting Your Hospitalized Child

January 12, 2015 Deborah Worthington, RN, CPN

When your child is hospitalized, it’s understandable that family and friends will want to visit. This is often a help to both the patient and the parent at the bedside. To maximize the benefit of this support, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Visiting hours: Check with your nurse for the visiting hours and let your nurse know when you are able to visit. If there are extenuating circumstances for your family’s situation (e.g., a parent works night or swing shift and can only visit before or after), let the nursing staff know.

  • Security: Check in at the nurses’ station so staff can confirm the patient/family is available. Parents are given ID bands and visitors are given ID badges; keep these visible and ask for replacements when needed. Parents who need to leave their child in the company of an approved visitor will need to complete a visitor log.

  • Hand hygiene: Follow the “golden rule” of healthcare! Be sure to use hand gel when arriving on the unit, and whenever entering and leaving the patient’s room.

  • Consider the health of visitors: Visitors should be free of illness themselves, especially during seasonal peaks such as cold and influenza season. Depending on the patient’s situation, additional isolation guidelines may be in place. Gowns, gloves and masks are available to protect the health of both visitors and patients.

  • Number of visitors: While family support is encouraged, the patient’s unit may have restrictions on the number of visitors allowed at one time.

  • Length of visit: Depending on circumstances, socialization can be tiring to a patient and parents. The child will need rest to maximize his or her recovery, so be mindful of what’s best for them.

Visiting a patient can provide more than a social benefit. Following these guidelines can help our patients return to wellness – and home – that much sooner.

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