What to Expect
Patient Identification (ID) Bands
Every patient is given an ID band when admitted to the hospital and will need to wear it at all times. The ID band contains your name, date of birth, and medical record number. It is really important for providing safe care.
- Allergy – If there is an allergy to any medicine or food, a red ID band will also be given to the patient. Please let a nurse know of any allergies.
- Fall risk – If there is a high risk of falling while in the hospital, a yellow ID band will be given to the patient.
Some patients will need more than one ID band.
Help care team members by:
- Letting us know if a band falls off or becomes uncomfortable.
- Making sure all care team members check the ID band before every dose of medicine, blood draw, test, procedure, and transport through the hospital.
- Letting us know when you leave the unit, if your child will be alone.
Care Team Member ID Badges
All care team members, including volunteers, wear photo ID badges with the hospital logo. Whenever anyone enters your room, check to see that they are wearing an ID badge. If you do not see an ID badge, ask them to show it to you. Do not allow your child to go with any person who does not have an MUSC ID badge.
Rounds occur each day. Care team members use this time to see how you or your child are doing, talk about treatment plans, and discuss discharge plans. This is also a time to teach students, so some discussions will be held outside your room. Generally, the medical and surgical teams round in the morning.
Many times during rounds, the entire health care team will come into your room. This may seem like a bit much. However, the goal of rounds is for you to have access to all of the team members at one time. Rounding at the bed-side is how we encourage patients and families to be active in making the health care plan.
Your Attending Doctor
If you have questions about your medical care, or your child’s, please ask any member of your health care team. If you would like to speak with the attending physician, please ask the nurse or resident involved with your care. They will contact the attending doctor for you.
If you prefer to call your attending doctor yourself, you can call the operator at 843-792-2300 or 2-2300 on your bedside room phone.
Nurses’ Care & Hourly Rounds
Nurses manage your care and/or your child’s care with you, your doctors, and other members of the health care team. They provide treatments, give medicines and IV fluids, and teach you how to take over health care after discharge. Nurses are helped by patient care technicians (PCTs) who assist with personal hygiene (bathing, brushing teeth, linen changes) and meals.
Nurses and PCTs will be checking vital signs, which include temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate throughout the day and night. Though it may be seem odd that this is done so often, vital signs are an important picture of a person’s health status.
Nurses work 12-hour shifts most of the time, so you will have two nurses in a 24-hour period. Nurses conduct shift report at the bedside at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. in order to improve your care, or the care of your child, with a safe handoff. Since the nurse is at the bedside many times each day, he/she is often the best link between you and the many other services you may receive while in the hospital.
Preparing for Your Visit
Hospitalization can be stressful and frightening under any circumstances for both children and their families. Please be assured that we will do everything possible to make sure you and your child feel safe, comfortable, and included. It is our intention to provide you with the information that you, as family members, need to feel comfortable as partners and decision-makers in your child's care. The more you know about the hospital, the better you can help your child be prepared and feel at ease.
What to Bring for Your Child
- Favorite stuffed toy or comfort item (such as a blanket).
- A few favorite toys (we also have toys you can borrow while you are here).
- Pajamas, robe, and slippers.
- Comfortable clothing.
- Movies (there are DVD players in the room).
- Schoolwork (if appropriate).
- Photos of favorite people.
- Medications that your child currently is taking.
- Favorite sippy cup and/or pacifier (if appropriate).
What Parents/Caregivers Should Bring for Themselves
For the safety and security of your child, please bring a photo ID to obtain a visitor badge. All inpatient units are locked for the protection of our patients and families and this badge is required to access the unit. You may also want to bring:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Your medications
- Personal hygiene items
- Books and magazines
- Calling card (if you need to make long distance calls)
- List of important phone numbers
- Money for meals and snacks
- Your child's insurance information
Visitors under 18 years old are not allowed to stay overnight in the Children’s Hospital.
Please note that we do not have sleeping accommodations for the family members of children on our intensive care units at this time. Family members accompanying these patients should bring sufficient funds for meals and alternative accommodations. Information on alternative accommodations, including the Ronald McDonald House, is available through our Guest Services Representatives.
Tips for Your Child’s Hospital Stay
- Ask questions about procedures and medical teams. If you need more information or have concerns and worries, please let us know.
- Communicate with the team. Tell the staff about your child's likes, dislikes, routines and how he or she typically copes with upsetting situations. When your child's attending physician makes daily rounds, this is an excellent time for you to be involved in information sharing and participating in your child's plan of care.
- Support your child. It is frightening to see your child sick or hurt. As a parent, your voice and touch are very important. Provide your child comforting words and a soothing touch. Ask your child's nurse what else you can do to help your child feel better.
- Encourage your child to ask questions and express feelings. Communication with your child is very important.
- Understand your child. When in the hospital, your child may act very differently than he or she does at home. It is normal for children to be fussier, whinier, or more irritable than usual. These behaviors are typically very temporary and are reactions to stressful events. Let your child know it is okay to cry and that his/her feelings are normal.
- Prepare your child for what they may see, feel, or experience. Explain that the medical staff is there to help. Children often wonder about what is going to happen to them. Talk with your child about their hospital stay and provide honest, sensitive, and age-appropriate information.
Age-specific information for preparing your children for their hospital stay:
Common Questions Children Ask Before a Hospital Stay
Here are some questions commonly asked by children prior to their hospital visit. If your child is planning a trip to the hospital share this information with them to help ease any concerns they may have.
When will I come home?
When your child's physician decides your child is well enough to go home, they will begin talking to you about the discharge plan. Children may not always understand why it is necessary to remain in the hospital, so reassure your child that you will all go home as soon as possible. Talk with your child about the things you will do together once you get home.
Will it hurt?
The most common fear for children of all ages is being stuck with a needle. While you don't want to scare your child, you cannot promise him/her that there will not be any shots or uncomfortable experiences while hospitalized. Instead tell your child that if anything hurts, it is okay to yell ouch and to cry. Reassure your child that no one wants to hurt them and that it is the nurses and doctors job to help the patients get better.
Where will I stay?
Children stay in patient rooms on units with other children of the same age. Your child may have her own room or may have one roommate. All rooms have a bathroom, telephone, TV, and a chair/bed for a parent to sleep. Cable access allows your child to watch a variety of child-friendly channels. Many of the rooms have their own DVD players. A limited number of portable video game systems, DVDs, and computers may also be available for your child to use in the room.
Can my parent stay with me?
Parents or legal guardians may visit at any time. One adult may stay overnight in the patient room (except in specialty units). It is usually very important and helpful to your child for a family member to stay.
Can my brothers and sisters visit?
Healthy brothers and sisters 12 years and older may visit during normal visiting hours. Normal visiting hours are between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Special arrangements can be made for younger siblings; check with your child's nurse. Siblings must be at least 18 years old to spend the night. If siblings are sick, or have been exposed to the chicken pox or any other illness, please do not bring them to the hospital.
Can I bring things from home?
It is important for children to pack familiar items for their hospital stay. Movies, music, and favorite toys or security items can be brought to the hospital. Please make sure electronic items operate with batteries only. Additionally, toys and activities can be borrowed from the Child Life Atrium play area.
Can I eat my favorite foods?
To ensure that there are many options for your child to choose from, we offer At Your Request® patient dining system. You can call and order the food your child wants, when they want it. A restaurant style menu is located on the bedside table.