Sorting out the practicalities

In the shock of a diagnosis it can be especially difficult to think about practicalities. But making arrangements and getting your head around things now should help you in the days and weeks ahead. It might be a good idea to read this with a friend or relative who could lend a hand with some of the logistics. 


Most children's and young people's wards have space for one parent or carer to stay while their child is having treatment. Some have rooms where other family members can stay too. Most hospitals have laundry facilities where you can wash clothes.

The hospital may have other self-catering accommodation, though you may have to pay for this and it may not always be available.

Ask your CLIC Sargent Social Worker about what's available or look on your hospital's website for more details.

Many children's cancer centres will have a CLIC Sargent Home from Home nearby. This self-catering accommodation is free for families to stay in while their child is having treatment, and siblings are welcome too.

Find out more about CLIC Sargent's free accommodation near the hospital for you and your family.


Cancer can often bring extra costs with travel for treatment, reduced working hours and childcare arrangements.

CLIC Sargent provides a one-off grant that you can use to cover food, travel or other day-to-day costs. you may also be able to access other grants and certain benefits to help with this. Talk to your CLIC Sargent Social Worker about how to apply.

Take a look at our money section for more information about benefits and money saving tips.


Travel to and from your child's hospital, whether by car or public transport, can be expensive. If you are on a low income and receiving benefits, the hospital may reimburse part or all of your travel costs so remember to keep your receipts.

Check with your child's consultant or nurse to confirm whether it's okay for your child to travel by public transport.

Free hospital transport may be available if your child has clinical needs that make using public transport impossible. 

See if you're eligible to receive support from the Government with travel costs


The cost and availability of parking varies from hospital to hospital. You may be able to buy a weekly, monthly or even annual parking permit that works out cheaper. Check the hospital's website for details and ask your CLIC Sargent Social Worker if any support is available at your child's hospital.

A Blue Badge can also help with parking costs. Your local authority may issue one if your child has mobility problems.

Take a look at our travelling for less page for support with parking charges and cutting down travel costs.


If you have other children who will need looking after while you are at the hospital, finding consistent childcare can be a problem.

If you or your partner is an employee, you or they may be entitled to time off for dependants in order to organise emergency childcare. In the longer term, it's a good idea to find someone who is willing to look after your other children at short notice if you need to take your child to hospital unexpectedly.

Get to know your rights when it comes to childcare support if you or your partner are employed

Where next?

Updated March 2018, next review due 2019.