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Children's Hospital of Georgia

AU Health | World-Class Health Care

What to Expect

Planning Your Visit

Are you planning a visit or stay at our hospital? You've come to the right place for information before your arrival.

1446 Harper Street
Augusta, GA 30912
706-721-KIDS (5437)
888-721-KIDS (5437)

Our entire team of care providers understands that when a child is sick, the whole family is affected.  We know that children—and parents—can be worried, sad or even angry about being sick or needing to stay in the hospital. It’s a little easier when you know what to expect and understand what’s going on around you.

All visitors should follow the safety and visitation guidelines in order to ensure safety and confidentiality of our patients.

Our entire team of care providers understands that when a child is sick, the whole family is affected.  We know that children—and parents—can be worried, sad or even angry about being sick or needing to stay in the hospital. It’s a little easier when you know what to expect and understand what’s going on around you.

All visitors should follow the safety and visitation guidelines in order to ensure safety and confidentiality of our patients.

What to Expect

It is important to be honest with your child about their surgery or hospitalization. Let them know some procedures may hurt, but most will not. Your child should understand that it is OK to cry but that it is important to cooperate with the hospital staff. Be prepared to explain why the hospitalization is necessary and what is expected. Reassure your child that you will be there throughout his hospitalization and that their hospital stay is not a punishment. Let them know that the doctor and nurse will help them feel better and when the doctor says they are well enough, they may return home.

Woman comforting a scared child

Helping Young Children Understand a Hospital Stay

Being away from home and separated from parents and family are probably the most stressful aspects of hospitalization for any child. Because a child's hospitalization affects the whole family, be sensitive to your other children's concern about their sibling.

How to prepare infants and toddlers for a hospital stay

Babies and toddlers under the age of two have not developed words and concepts about procedures or when they will occur. Children this young need a familiar caregiver and their favorite toys for comfort and security. Prepare yourself for vocal expressions of their feelings and remember this is normal. Plan ahead for times when waiting or quiet activities will be needed and have ready toys, coloring books and videos.

How to prepare preschoolers age 3 to 5 for a hospital stay

Children at this age are curious and want to know what will happen. They do not have well-developed ideas of time. Keep explanations simple and short. Too many details may be confusing.

Books, medical kit toys and videos about doctor visits and hospital stays can all be helpful. 

Help your child pack a bag with favorite toys or other objects so that he or she has a sense of security while in the hospital. 

Be sure to ask what your child thinks. Many preschoolers fantasize and use their imagination about things they do not understand. Their imaginings may be much worse than actually talking about scary or painful things. 

How to prepare children age 6 to 12 for a hospital stay

Children this age enjoy learning and using their minds to understand more detailed explanations of events, procedures and their own bodies. They understand concepts of time and the idea of before, during and after. They can follow more complex instructions that include steps. Although high language skills are available to them, medical lingo needs to be "translated" into real words.

How to prepare teens age 13 to 18 for a hospital stay

Teenagers need clear answers about what and why things are happening to them. They need to be included in the discussions about their care with doctors and nurses. Teens are usually most concerned about how procedures, hospital stays and surgery will affect their appearance, their daily activities and their relationship with friends. Plan to include visits and calls from their friends. Be sure to think of clothes to help maintain privacy. Consider bringing books, videos, electronic devices, etc., for entertainment and to prevent boredom. Arrange schoolwork so they do not fall behind their peers.

  • If a care team member you don’t know comes into your child’s room, ask for an introduction.
  • Be honest. Tell the Care Team everything they need to know about your child—even if it’s something that makes you a little uncomfortable to talk about.
  • Let kids speak for themselves when possible. We try hard to take care of our child’s needs—but kids should be able to answer questions directly—and able to ask them, too.
  • Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask for a simpler explanation of your child’s condition. If you hear medical words or abbreviations you don’t understand, ask for an explanation.
  • When you are worried or sleep-deprived it can be hard to understand or remember what a caregiver tells you. Write down information you’ll want to remember.
  • Tell the team if your family has any special religious, cultural, home care and/or financial needs that will affect the treatment plan and your child’s care after you return home.
  • If something “just doesn’t feel right,” please speak up. You are an expert about your child, and your concerns are important.

As critical members of our care team at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, our team of Child Life Specialists are specially trained to help children understand their care and provide a sense of normalcy while they are in the hospital. Our team members work with children of all ages, one-on-one, to explain clinical care or procedures so young patients better understand why something needs to be done. 

Contact the Child & Adolescent Life Department at 706-721-5503 for more information.

 

Girl holding a teddy bear as her parents carry suitcases behind her

To make your child feel more at home, you may want to bring several of his favorite items from home. Be sure to label all items. We recommend bringing:

  • A favorite toy, game, book, blanket or other comforting item
  • A favorite photograph
  • Personal-care items: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, shampoo
  • Pajamas, gown, robe, slippers, shoes and socks
  • Comfortable clothes to wear home
  • Baby-care items if needed
  • School books and assignments
  • List of child's medicines with dosage amounts and pharmacy telephone number
  • List of allergies to food and medicine
  • Hospital records from other hospitals as well as doctor's telephone number
  • Any special equipment needed (glasses, splints, etc.)

Remember to Pack for Yourself

  • Any medications you are taking
  • Telephone numbers you may need
  • Money for dining room and vending area
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Personal-care items
  • Small projects for quiet time

Don't forget to bring identification such as Social Security card, health insurance information or Medicaid card and your child's medical history. Also, be sure and notify your insurance company about your child's procedure.

Managed-Care or Contractual Insurance Agreements

Children’s Hospital of Georgia participates with a variety of insurance companies and managed care contracts. Please check your insurance policy to ensure that you have satisfied your insurance company requirements. Failure to do so may mean a loss of some benefits which you would be responsible for paying.

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