Wardipedia – 61. Kids visiting

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Hugs, Harry Potter and hoodies


Everyone wants children to have good experiences and memories of a hospital visit, to help them and the people they’re visiting enjoy this time and manage the enforced separation a bit more easily. Children can feel isolated, abandoned, confused and afraid when their parent goes into hospital, and wards play a crucial role in providing comfort, understanding and reassurance.  More and more hospitals are now recognising that a family visiting room is an essential resource.

This overcomes many of the potentially overwhelming practical and emotional obstacles to kids coming to see their parents, aunts, brothers and other loved ones. And provides enough space to accommodate the very different needs (and mood states!) of kids from tots to teens.

A great family room:

  • is welcoming, light, warm, clean, private
  • is a reasonable size – not a converted cupboard or echoing hall!
  • is decorated in a nice homely way with kid-friendly pictures on the wall,
  • has comfy furniture
  • has a range of toys and activities eg comics, books, music, TV, DVDs, Wii
  • allows families to share drinks and snacks


Ward examples

  • On admission it is identified whether or not the patient has children of their own, and if there are other children in their lives who they want to be in contact with during their admission.
  • There’s a conservatory which is a family visiting room.
  • The family room has lots of big plastic toys, donated by League of Friends.
  • The Trust gets discount from Early Learning Centre.
  • The family room can be booked which helps monitor children visiting.
  • Nappy changing facilities and a toddler toilet are available in the room next door to visiting room.
  • Patients’ artwork is on display in visiting room and corridors.
  • Patients have planned to use the games in the Visitors Room for when befrienders come to visit them.
  • Communication about visiting arrangements:  including in patient information booklets, (attractively and welcomingly!) on noticeboards, through carer support networks etc.
  • Visiting times are flexible to make it possible and comfortable for another adult to bring kids in to visit.
  • We have a fantastic family room within the unit which can be used from 9am to 9pm. If it’s okay for the patient to leave the ward, it’s just a matter of bleeping the unit co-ordinator to unlock it.
  • Conservatory for family visiting room. Lots of big plastic toys, donated by League of Friends. Discount from Early Learning Centre. Room gets booked, partly to monitor kids visiting. Nurse will usually sit outside to make safe. 300 – 400 kids a month!! Nappy change facilities in loo next to family room. Also next to Jackie’s Pantry. Now being included in all new builds.
  • There’s a family room on each ward and it’s close to the main entrance so children are safe and don’t through the main ward.
  • Our shiny new bespoke Child Friendly Visiting room provides a discreet, safe environment for patients to meet with their families and friends away from the busy ward; providing them with the privacy and dignity that we believe all families have the right to expect within an acute Inpatient setting. All furniture, fixings and toys have been purchased specifically for this area, with children aged up to 8 at the forefront of our minds – oh what fun we had!
  • A box of children’s toys is available in the visitor’s room dedicated for children’s visits; magazines are available in the reception waiting area.
The Word from the Ward
“The ward intercom buzzes. I look at the video display and I see a whole family of varying ages from 2 years to 80. I panic and think to myself “Hmm….there are no free rooms on the ward. The patient cannot leave the ward. Under 18s can’t enter the ward. This is the first time the patient has had any visitors for 3 weeks. Do I turn them away? Do I tell them to come back later?”


Patient examples

  • My little daughter is always really happy. She’s a little ray of light to me. The fact that she’s happy means I must be doing something right and makes me feel better about myself.
  • I knew my kids were going to come and visit so we planned a room for them and decorated it and baked little cakes and we all had a whale of a time….they thought it was their birthday party!


Categories: Neighbours, Wardipedia