In the hospital

In this video, Albert talks about what it was like staying in hospital, making friends and explains that the word ‘cancer’ is a lot scarier than the illness itself.

Your questions

CLIC Sargent Play Specialist Laura and CLIC Sargent Nurse Jeanette answer some frequently asked questions by the children CLIC Sargent supports.

I’m going to be in hospital for quite a few weeks. What can I do to keep busy?

Being in hospital doesn’t have to be boring! Children’s wards have lots of things to do, like books and board games, toys and even play areas. If you’re not feeling well enough to get out of bed, you could get creative by writing a story or poem, drawing, making jewellery or a model plane or learning a new skill like knitting. You can also bring in things from home to keep you busy, like a tablet or games console.

While I’m in hospital for my treatment, will there be any activities I can join?

Lots of hospitals have activities that you can join in with. You can ask the nurses, play specialists or healthcare assistants what’s on, or ask your mum or dad to find out for you. If you’re going to be in hospital for a while, you might be able to join a hospital school to help you keep on top of your schoolwork, pass the time and make new friends.

Am I allowed to watch TV in hospital?

Most children’s wards have televisions by each bed, so you can keep up with all your favourite programmes. You’ll need to pay extra if you want to watch films. You might need to use headphones so it doesn’t get too noisy on the ward. There may also be a TV room where you can chill out with hospital friends, or you could bring a laptop, portable DVD player or tablet into hospital, with plenty of movies and TV episodes downloaded or on DVD to keep you entertained.

I love baking. Will I be able to bake a cake while I’m in hospital?

It’s often possible to do some cooking during your hospital stay, perhaps with the play club or hospital school. If this is something you’d enjoy, talk to your play specialist. Even if there isn’t an oven for you to use, you could ask your parents or another adult to help you with some microwave or toaster recipes, like muffin pizzas.

Can my friends visit me in hospital?

Yes, friends can visit you in hospital. It’s a good way for them to understand what you are going through. You’ll need to ask the hospital what the visiting rules are though. Your friends will all need to use hand gel outside the ward doors before they visit. And nobody should visit if they have been poorly in the last few days. Some friends may find it hard to see you in hospital. If they don’t want to come it’s probably not because they don’t want to see you. It may be that they are a bit worried. Perhaps invite them to your house instead, or chat on FaceTime or Skype instead.

I really miss my friends when I’m in hospital. What can I do to make friends with other children on the ward?

Hospitals are great places to make new friends. Board games, card games and computer games are good for helping you get to know the children on your ward, or you could team up to create a poster or collage, or put on a play or show. Your nurse or play specialist might be able to suggest good places to hang out, such as a TV room or play area. 

I’ve finished my treatment but have to go back to hospital for outpatient appointments. Will I be able to take my games console with me? 

Sometimes there’s a bit of waiting around when you come into hospital for appointments. No one wants you to get bored, so it’s fine to use your games console, tablet or MP3 player while you’re waiting. It’s a good idea to bring earphones so you don’t have to worry about the noise.

Can I choose how my treatment is given? For example, could I have liquid medicines instead of tablets or tablets instead of an injection?

This is a good question to ask your doctor. They will know all about the treatment you are having and the different ways you can have it. Some medicines come as a tablet or a liquid and you can choose which one you want. You may not always be able to have a tablet or liquid instead of an injection though, because they work in different ways. 

Last reviewed: September 2015
Next planned review: 2018