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How to Prepare for Your Child's Hospital Visit

VUMC COVID-19 hospital and clinic patient visitor policy in effect

To protect our patients, staff, and community, we have implemented further restrictions on visitation in our hospitals, emergency departments and outpatient clinics.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time. Be assured that our patients are getting exceptional care from our outstanding physicians, nurses, and staff in a way that protects their safety and that of others.

New COVID-19 Rules at Your Next Children's Hospital Appointment

Staying safe is essential. So is your child's health. Learn about what you can expect at your next appointment at Children's Hospital. Keeping you safe from COVID-19 while caring for you is our top priority.


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.

What to bring to the hospital

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.

When your doctor tells you that you can go home, we will work with you to prepare for discharge:

  • One of our nurses will talk to you about how to care for your child at home.
  • The nurse will give you written information about caring for your child at home. You may want to put these papers in the pockets of your patient and family handbook, or if you have created a notebook you can add it to your other documents.
  • If your doctor has asked you to come back for a doctor's appointment in one of Vanderbilt's clinics, the medical receptionist can make that appointment for you before you leave.