FAQ about your Hospital Stay

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about your hospital stay at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Click on the question to find the answer.

  1. What should we bring?
  2. How can I help my child?
  3. Who are all these people?
  4. Is there somewhere we can eat and/or stay overnight?
  5. What about visitors?
  6. How do I use the phones?
  7. Where do I park?
  8. Where can I buy a gift for my child?
  9. What activities are available for my child?

1. What should we bring?

Be sure to bring these

If your child has a favorite toy, game or “familiar object,” bring it along. Also bring everyday items, like a toothbrush or comb. Pajamas are available, but you may want to bring your child’s favorite slippers, robe or other clothes for more comfort. Please label anything you bring for your child.

But leave these at home

Do not bring hair dryers, radios or clocks, if at all possible. If you do bring one of these items, please tell your nurse. He or she will check it for safety before you use it. Leave large amounts of cash or other valuable items at home as well.

Bring medications from home

When your child comes to the hospital, bring with you any medicine your child was taking at home. Please bring it in its original container because your doctor or nurse may want to see the medicine bottles. This helps us be sure your child receives the right medicine.

For safety reasons, Children’s Hospital does not allow certain medicines from home to be used in the hospital. In most cases, you will be asked to take your child’s medicines home after the doctor or nurse examines the medicine bottles. In some cases, your home supply may be used, but will need to be sent to the pharmacy to make sure it is the right medicine.

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2. How Can I Help My Child?

  • An identification band will be placed on your child’s wrist or ankle. It is important to keep this band on and notify your nurse or patient care assistant if it is lost or becomes damaged.
  • Please inform your doctors and nurses of any allergies or bad reactions your child may have had in the past. This should include reactions to any medications, herbs, vitamins, foods, or environmental allergens.
  • Your child may be taken to a designated room for care or treatment. If this is necessary, we try to notify you before this occurs.
  • Please do not give your child any home medicine, including Tylenol or other over-the-counter medications, while he/she is in the hospital. If you forget, please tell your nurse right away. Home medications may be given in special circumstances, but you must have a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s order to do so.
  • For your child’s safety, please make sure crib and bed rails are raised all the way and locked in place at all times.
  • Your child will be wakened during the night for temperature readings, medications and treatments. This is necessary for your child’s care.
  • It is very important to keep accurate measurements of everything your child drinks and eats, as well as output of urine and stool during your child’s stay. We request all diapers (wet and dirty) be set aside for medical staff to measure and record. Older children should have a special hat or urinal to measure output.
  • Playrooms are available in each of the nursing units for non-infectious patients. Check with your nurse to make sure it is OK for your child to visit our playroom. If he/she is restricted to their room, your nurse can request a child life specialist to provide toys, crafts, books, or video games for your child’s enjoyment.
  • Please ask permission from your nurse before leaving the patient unit. Your child may be able to leave the unit as well but you will need a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s order first.
  • We strive to understand each patient’s and family’s concerns. If you have questions regarding your child’s care or treatment decision please tell your nurse so they can contact the appropriate medical staff to help address your needs.

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3. Who Are All These People?

Depending on your child’s needs, he/she may receive care from several health care members during their stay in the hospital. This includes: doctors, nurse practitioners/ physician assistants, nurses, patient care assistants, clinical social workers, therapists, clinical dieticians, child life specialists, chaplains, lactation consultants, and volunteers.

  • Doctors: While your child is hospitalized, the on-call physician will see your child. If you have questions about your child’s condition, your doctor can give you the most complete information. If you need information right away, try to talk with your doctor, or talk with the nurse practitioner working with your child. Your child’s nurse also can give you this information.
  • Nurse Practitioner/Physician’s Assistant: In some cases, your child may only be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. They work with your child’s primary physician as well as the on-call physician to coordinate and plan care for your child. If your child needs special care after discharge from the hospital, they will help you with plans for equipment, supplies, home infusion therapy and other items.
  • Nurses: Nurses and their assistants provide most of your child’s around-the-clock care. They also help ease your child’s fears of being in the hospital, being sick and being away from family. Nurses give individualized care by talking with you and your child. They will teach you how to meet the needs of your child at the hospital and at home. The goal of nursing is to give your child the best care possible. We do this by having the nurses, physicians and other members of the health care team work directly with you.
  • Patient Care Assistants: A patient care assistant (PCA) works together with your nurse to provide care to your child. The PCA may assist your child’s nurse by taking vital signs, obtaining daily weights, bathing your child, recording intake and output measurements, providing formula/diapers/linens, or assisting with other treatments.
  • Clinical Social Workers: A clinical social worker, with specialized training in pediatrics, can provide emotional support and other assistance to you and your family. They work with your team of doctors and nurses to help you manage the stressful aspects of your child’s illness, the challenges of the hospital stay, as well as other issues your family may face. He/she also can work with you to identify and use needed services in your area once your child goes home. You can ask your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse to contact a social worker for you.
  • Therapists: While in the hospital, your child may need the help of physical, occupational, speech, or respiratory therapists. These therapists will also work with you to continue these therapies at home.
  • Clinical Dieticians: Clinical dieticians provide nutritional care based upon the specific age, development, and medical needs of your child. They can also provide formula mixing instructions as well as handouts for dietary recommendations/restrictions.
  • Child Life Specialists: Child Life Specialists address developmental needs of children, and can assist children in coping with their health care needs. They support your child’s growth and development through play activities and events created just for him/her. They even have activities to help your child prepare for a health care procedure.
  • Chaplains: Pastoral Care can provide you and your family with spiritual support. The Pastoral Care Department will provide assistance to those of all faiths. Trained chaplains are available 24 hours a day. The Children’s Chapel is open to people of all faiths, cultures and ages. It is located on the first floor of the main hospital.
  • Lactation Consultants: Children’s lactation program helps moms provide breast milk for their hospitalized infant. Hospital-grade electric breast pumps are available throughout the hospital to keep moms comfortable and to help maintain milk supply if an infant is not able to breastfeed directly. Please make sure all expressed milk has your child’s identification label, date and time. Your nurse can secure it in a breast milk refrigerator or freezer located on your child’s unit. When breast milk is returned to you, verify the label milk with your child’s name and date of birth.
  • Volunteers: Volunteers work throughout the hospital. A few of the areas are the Emergency Department, the Gift Shop, the Information Desk, patient units and as part of the Child Life program. Volunteers wear blue jackets, shirts or vests and a name badge.

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4. Is there somewhere we can eat and/or stay overnight?

Children’s Hospital is conveniently located near many restaurants and hotels. Outside dining and lodging options can be viewed on the Children’s Hospital website or by clicking on the following link: Food Service for Your Child:

Your child may select meals from the patient menu and, upon request, may be able to receive meals from the cafeteria menu at an additional cost.

If you would like to bring food from home to the hospital, or would like to have food delivered to the hospital, please check with your nurse. If your child is on a special diet, please check with the dietician to make sure food from outside the hospital is appropriate for your child. A list of restaurants that deliver to the hospital is available at your nursing station.

If your child is receiving formula, it will be provided by the Kitchen. The hospital offers many standard and special formulas. All possible care will be taken to obtain any special formula your child needs. If your child’s formula is not available, your doctor and nurse will meet with Nutrition Services to find another formula. Your child’s nutrition is one of our primary concerns.

Cafeteria: The cafeteria is located on the ground floor of the hospital. Take Elevator A to level G and the cafeteria is directly across the hallway. Take Elevator B to level G and the cafeteria will be down the hallway on the left.

Cafeteria hours:

Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Vending: Vending machines are located on the ground floor across the hallway from the cafeteria entrance, and in the Scott M. Niswonger Emergency Department waiting area provide sandwiches, snacks and beverages 24 hours a day.

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5. What about Visitors?

We consider families to be a part of the care team. Parents are encouraged to be with their child as much as possible. We suggest visits by friends and other family members are brief. Check with your nurse or doctor to see how many visitors are allowed at one time or for any other visitation issues. You can view more details about visitor policies at Children’s Hospital by clicking on this link:Normal visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. No one should visit who is ill or has been exposed to a contagious disease. This will protect your child and other patients from becoming more ill.

Special visitation requests often are granted. Please check with your child’s nurse for more specific guidelines about visitation on your unit.

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6. How do I use the Phones?

There are telephones in each patient room for free local outgoing calls. Long-distance phone calls must be made through the operator. He/she will help you make a collect call, or calling card call. Pay phones are located near the elevators in the lobby areas on each floor. Cellular phones are allowed in restricted areas. Please follow the posted guidelines or ask your nurse.

To make local outgoing calls:

  • Dial “9.”
  • Then dial the number desired for local calls.

To make long-distance outgoing calls:

  • Dial “9-0-area code-number.”
  • The operator then will assist you in making your collect call, or calling card call.

Visitors may call directly into your room by dialing 865-246-7(room number). Calls coming into the room will only be received between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. You can dial to another hospital extension from your child’s room by just entering the last 4 digits of the number (example: 8103 will call the gift shop).

Telephone Information

– Gift Shop 541-8103 – Pastoral Care 541-8476
– Guest Relations 541-8586 – Social Work 541-8457
– Information Desk 541-8109 – Volunteer Services 541-8136
– Lost and Found 541-8274 – Operator 541-8000 or “0”

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7. Where do I park?

Children’s Hospital has a visitor parking garage beside the Medical Office Building as well as a parking lot below the hospital for Emergency Room visits. If your child is admitted to the hospital from the emergency room, you will need to move your private vehicle from the Emergency parking lot to the Visitor Parking Garage.

You will receive a yellow parking pass with your child’s admission packet. This parking pass is good for your child’s entire hospital stay. It has an expiration date, but should your child need to stay in the hospital past the expiration date, another pass will be provided before your child’s is discharged home. Please ask your child’s nurse or the unit secretary for another parking pass if yours has expired.

Always make sure your vehicle is locked. Do not leave cash or valuable items in view inside your vehicle. These items should be locked in the trunk, removed from the vehicle or hidden. In the Emergency parking lot, and especially at night, select the most well lit and most visible parking spaces. Security officers will walk you to your car if you wish. Ask your child’s nurse or the nurse manager on your unit to contact a security escort for you.

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8. Where Can I Buy a Gift for my Child?

Children’s Hospital Gift Shop is located on the first floor just beside the admitting lobby and waiting area. There are many child-friendly items to choose from including stuffed animals, books, flowers, candy, balloons, etc. In case you forgot to bring your own, the gift shop also carries essential items such as a tooth brush, combs, nail clippers, hair products, etc. They even have gifts for older children and teenagers like picture frames, magazines, hand and cosmetic bags, etc.

The Gift Shop is open:

Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Family members and friends can call the gift shop and have flowers, candy, balloons, etc delivered directly to your child’s room. They will also gift wrap for free. Orders can be paid by phone with a VISA or MasterCard. The Gift Shop can be reached by dialing (865) 541-8103.

You can learn more about East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Gift Shop by clicking here: [Back to Top]

9. What Activities are Available for my Child?

Library Cart

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital volunteers bring a library cart around to patient areas during the week. The cart includes books and magazines for children of all ages. You and your child may borrow materials from the cart for your enjoyment.

Teen Room

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has an activity room just for teens 12 years of age and older. It includes a computer with monitored internet access, an air-hockey table, card-game table, and other game accessories for older children. It is located on the second floor of the inpatient unit. Check with your child’s nurse to see if he or she can visit the teen room. They will be required to sign-in and sign-out at the 2-West nurse station, and will enter the locked room with a staff member who has the access code. Video monitoring is in progress 24/7.


Kids will be kids and kids need to play. In an effort to make your child’s stay more pleasant, there are playrooms located throughout the hospital. Each playroom has toys and games for your child. Please watch your child while in the playrooms and remember to return all toys so other children may enjoy them. If your child has special needs or is not permitted to go to the playroom, ask your nurse to help you contact a child life specialist for an individualized visit.

Outdoor Courtyard

The outdoor courtyard area is available for use by you and your child. It is located on the second floor between the east and west nurses station. Your doctor will let you know if your child may go to this area, and a member of the nursing or child life staff will be glad to assist you. You or another adult you know must watch your child at all times in the courtyard. Smoking is not permitted in the courtyard area.

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