The prospect of coming into hospital can often be a daunting one, especially for children and their families. Understandably, there are many questions and anxieties about what their visit will entail and how it will affect them.
In order to put minds at rest, Heart of England has put together a guide for young patients, specially adapted for three different age groups: under 6, 6-10 and 11+. It covers everything from operations to tests and treatments, as well as what the food is like and a breakdown of different departments.
Keeping patients and their families reassured is intrinsic to providing comprehensive and effective care. Honesty and transparency are vital aspects of building trusting relationships and are especially important where children are concerned.
We believe that, with the right words and manner, every child is deserving and indeed capable of knowing what is happening and why. Likewise, anyone accompanying a child on a hospital visit also has a right to having clear and sincere lines of communication at all times.
Ward 15/16 cares for children aged 0-16, with different areas designated to different age groups. We have found that the older children prefer to be with the same sex and so have separate sections to accommodate this. As with any other ward in the hospital, each patient will have been assigned to a doctor who specialises in the relevant condition. Other staff on the ward, including all the nurses, are trained paediatricians and experts in looking after children and young people.
The wards themselves have been carefully designed to make children and their visitors as comfortable as possible with plenty of activities to keep them occupied. Schooling is also available for those staying for longer periods of time. We recognise the natural instinct for parents and carers to remain close by and so put no limit on visiting hours. There are also designated beds, should they wish to stay the night. Other visitors are always welcome, so long as it does not disrupt the patient’s treatment or recovery.
Whilst clinics are located in different areas of the hospital, all doctors are experienced in treating children and young people and will be more than happy to address any questions or uncertainties from patients and their families. Patients who are relaxed and comfortable often recover more quickly and so we work hard to make sure this is the case.
Julie Taylor, head nurse for children’s services, said: “If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with your child on our children’s wards, our staff will do their upmost to make your stay as comfortable as possible. All of our nurses are specially trained children’s nurses who are supported by experienced health care assistants and a play specialist team.”