Skip to Main ContentSkip to Footer

How to Prepare for Your Child's Hospital Visit

It is natural for a child or teen to have a lot of questions about a clinic or hospital visit. You can help ease your child’s fears by being open, honest and gentle with information about what to expect. Listen to your child’s specific fears and concerns. Try to keep your answers as simple as possible. Even if the upcoming visit will hurt or be uncomfortable, preparing your child for all experiences is important.

Here are some tips for to help make the visit a little easier:

  • Toddlers should be told the day of or only a day ahead.
  • Preschoolers and young school-age children should be told two or three days ahead of time.
  • School-age children and teens may need more time to think about things and may be told a week or more before the visit to the hospital or clinic.
  • Explain things so they know what they will see, hear, feel, smell and taste
  • Play "doctor" or "hospital" with your child.
  • Read books about hospital visits.
  • Discuss any concerns with our child life, nursing and medical staff to help you prepare for your upcoming visit.

If you would like further information about supporting your child, contact the Child Life department at (615) 936-4575.

Pre-Procedure COVID Testing

Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 should continue for the following:

  • Admission testing for all asymptomatic patients admitted to units 6A/B
  • Immediate pre-transplant, pre-procedure testing
  • Prior to receipt of severely immunosuppressive medication, at the discretion of the attending physician
  • Pre-placement for post-acute care facility (if required)
  • Occupational Health-approved employee testing

Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is no longer required for the following:

  • Routine admissions to units not noted above
  • Pre-procedure except for immediate pre-transplant

If you have any questions about whether your child needs testing, ask your care team. If you have any questions about the need for COVID testing prior to your child’s procedure, call (615) 936-1840.

This testing must be done 48 to 72 hours before your child's procedure. If your child isn't tested or if the result isn't available on the day of the procedure, the procedure may be postponed until we can get a result.

Next steps based on test result

  • The result will show up in your child’s My Health at Vanderbilt account (if they have one). 
  • If the test is negative (does NOT show that your child has COVID), the procedure will go on as planned.
  • If the test is positive (shows that your child does have COVID) and comes in during regular business hours, we’ll call you. The person doing the procedure will decide if it can go on as planned or needs to be postponed.

What to Bring

We want you to feel at home when you stay with us. The most important items you can bring are things that make you and your child more comfortable. Some suggested items:

  • Laptop computers, tablets and cell phones
  • Favorite blanket or stuffed animal
  • Favorite books and magazines
  • Favorite toy, movie or game
  • Personal toiletries such as brush, comb and toothbrush
  • Personal care items such as glasses, contacts and hearing aids
  • Special equipment for your child's needs such as crutches, braces, special shoes
  • School work, if your child will have a long hospital stay. Children's Hospital has a teacher on staff to assist your child with school assignments.
  • Pajamas, robe, slippers and undergarments such as socks, panties, underwear and undershirts

Please label all electronics with your child’s full name.

Please do not bring corded electrical appliances or devices such as hair dryers, television sets, video games, radios or fans. We must keep electrical outlets available for medical devices and equipment.

Leaving the Hospital

Our goal is to help your child get well and for you and your family to return home as soon as possible. You may hear us talking about “discharge” as early as your first day with us, but we will be sure to prepare you for care at home. If you have questions or are uncomfortable with any of your child's home care, please let the doctor, nurse or case manager know so that we can help. See more information here: Leaving the hospital.