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 about being in hospital

What can I do to keep busy in hospital?

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 like a tablet or games console - just remember the charger!

Why do I have to stay in hospital when I don't feel ill?

Sometimes you'll need to be in hospital for treatment or so the doctors can keep an eye on how you're doing. It can be annoying if you don't feel unwell, but there are usually activities to keep you busy.

What activities can I do in hospital?

You can ask your nurse, play specialists or healthcare assistants what’s going 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?

You'll probably have a TV by your bed so you can keep up with your favourite shows. You might need to use headphones so it doesn’t get too noisy on the ward and you might need to pay extra to watch films. There may be a TV room where you can chill out with friends, or you could bring a laptop or tablet with plenty of movies and TV episodes downloaded to keep you entertained.

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

It might be! Some hospitals will let you do some cooking 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. The hospital will have rules about times that they're allowed to visit though, so check with them first. 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 because they are a bit worried - not because they don't want to see you. You could chat on FaceTime or Skype instead.

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 phone while you’re waiting. It’s a good idea to bring earphones so you don’t have to worry about the noise.

Why do I have to do so much schoolwork in hospital?

Keeping up with your schoolwork while you're in hospital means you won't be left behind by the rest of your class. When you go back to school, it won't take you as long to catch up, and you can focus on the fun bits, like your friends!

Why are there guard rails on my bed?

They're not there to stop you escaping! Hospital beds are higher than normal beds, so they stop you falling out. Otherwise, you might end up being treated for cancer AND a broken leg!

Why are so many people looking after me?

You'll meet lots of different people including oncologists (the doctors in charge of your treatment), dietitians who help you with what to eat, ward nurses who look after you in hospital and community nurses who look after you at home. It might feel a bit overwhelming to have so many different people around but they are all working together to make sure you are getting everything you need. 

Updated April 2018, next review due 2021.