Going to hospital

If your child has been admitted to hospital, they are probably staying on a children' cancer ward. These are generally friendly, positive places and staff will offer both you and your child plenty of help and support. 

What's it like staying on a ward?

Many parents tell us they found seeing the ward for the first time challenging. Try to remember that the most important things can be hard to see at first - like the professionals who will be there by your side throughout. Or the chance to form new friendships that can provide an extra layer of support.

It may also be helpful to know that children usually only stay on the ward when they need inpatient treatment or if they are very unwell. Many children are eventually able to get on with their lives while continuing treatment at home, at an outpatient clinic or during short stays in hospital.

What are the facilities like?

Most children's wards have staff and facilities to help keep your child occupied. Only your child is eligible for hospital meals, but there will usually be a kitchen where you can make a cup of tea and possibly prepare snacks. There are usually showers available for parents and a place to wash your clothes.

Most hospitals provide information about their wards, facilities and the local area. You can check out UK hospitals in your area.

What will I need to bring to hospital?

Some items that other parents like to keep packed for a hospital stay include:

  • Toiletries - lip balm, hand cream and moisturisers can be particularly handy
  • Entertainment for your child - whether that's toys, games, activity books, portable DVD player or pre-downloaded apps on a smartphone or tablet
  • Your phone or tablet charger
  • Your child's favourite snacks and drinks
  • Books and magazines to keep you occupied
  • Clothes for you and your child
  • Something snuggly for your child to wear such as pyjamas, slippers or dressing gowns
  • Diary or organiser and a pen to take notes
  • Washing powder or liquid
  • Anything your child will find comforting to have with them such as a cuddly toy or photographs.

What does my CLIC Sargent Social Worker do?

You should have met your CLIC Sargent Social Worker shortly after your child's diagnosis. They will work alongside NHS teams to ensure you get the support you need.

Your social worker will also help coordinate the non-clinical care of your child and can support you with any practical or emotional issues you may face.

"CLIC Sargent guided us into a new routine - we call it the 'new normal'. I don't know what we would have done otherwise."

Where next?

Updated March 2018, next review due 2019.