Your Child’s Stay in the Hospital
I start seeing patients at 8 a.m. I will review your child’s blood work and test results and find out from you how your child did overnight in the hospital. Once the on-call doctor has finished clinic and/or procedures they will come and see your child. We will talk together and review the next steps in your child’s treatment.
Once your child is better they will be discharged to go home from the hospital and a follow-up visit will be scheduled with your primary GI doctor in 2-3 weeks. If you are discharged to go home on the weekend, you will need to call the office Monday morning to schedule the follow-up visit.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s care in the hospital, please let your nurse or nurse manager know so they can contact me. I will be glad to help you in any way I can.
A Visit to the Emergency Room
If your child is very sick, or you are worried that something is wrong, he or she should be taken to the nearest Emergency Room.
It is important for you to tell the Emergency Room doctor that your child is a patient of GI for Kids (for example: sees Dr. Al-Tawil for reflux).
Make sure you tell the Emergency Room doctor all the medicine your child is taking (for example: Prevacid in the morning and Zantac every night at bedtime). If you could bring your child’s prescription bottles to the Emergency Room it would help you remember the medication, dose, time given, and frequency.
The doctor in the Emergency Room will talk to the doctor on-call for GI for Kids. Together, they will decide if your child can be treated and sent home or stay in the hospital for more tests and observation.
If your child is taken care of in the Emergency Room and then sent home, you will need to let your child’s stomach doctor know. They may need a recheck in our office in the next 1-2 days.
If your child is admitted to the hospital, the on-call doctor and/or our inpatient nurse practitioner will see your child the next day.
Almost all patients will have blood work and sometimes X-rays or ultrasounds to help find the cause of your child’s illness. Most of the test results come back the same day. Some of the tests we order can take 10-15 days to come back, so those results will be given to you when the child comes back to the office for a recheck.
If your child is having multiple problems (for example: trouble breathing, fevers, seizure activity, skin rash, etc), your child will be admitted to the Children’s Pediatric Group (CPG). CPG is a group of pediatricians who take care of children that have more than one problem at a time.
Our on-call doctor and/or our inpatient nurse practitioner will still see your child if they are admitted to the CPG. Several other doctors may also see your child (lung doctors, skin doctors, surgeons, etc). Each of these doctors is a very important part in helping your child get better.
Once your child is feeling better, they will be discharged to go home from the hospital. They will be seen at our office for a recheck 2 weeks after they are sent home from the hospital. More tests may be ordered if your child is still having problems.
From the Office to the Hospital
During the office visit, your child’s physician or nurse practitioner may feel your child needs extra testing and observation in the hospital. Reasons your child might need to stay in the hospital can include:
If your baby or child is:
- Not gaining adequate weight
- Not tolerating his/her formula
- Frequently spitting up or projectile vomiting
- Choking with feedings
- Turning blue or losing color while feeding
- Having apnea (not breathing or becomes unresponsive) during or after feedings
If your baby or child has:
- Bloody stool
- Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Abdominal distention (swelling)
- Abnormal lab/procedure results
We understand spending the night in the hospital with your child can be stressful and overwhelming. We want to help you and your child feel comfortable in every way we can. In the FAQ section, you can find everything you need to know about your stay at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The hospital also has helpful information that can help make your stay easier. Click on the link for more details and helpful resources.
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.
- What should we bring?
- How can I help my child?
- Who are all these people?
- Is there somewhere we can eat and/or stay overnight?
- What about visitors?
- How do I use the phones?
- Where do I park?
- Where can I buy a gift for my child?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
|– 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”|
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.
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:
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.
9. What Activities are Available for my Child?
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.
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.
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.
Listed below are some of the web sites that we think you might find useful and/or that were referenced for a portion of the information within this website.
- North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
- Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (CDHNF)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
- Johns Hopkins Medical Disease Library
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Pediatric Surgical Association
- www.medhelp.org (FUNDO)
- Guandalini, S. (2005). Essential Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division.