Preparing for an admission

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Preparing for an admission

Preparing children for a surgical procedure can be a very stressful time and talking about surgery can be difficult, but preparation before admission helps most children gain a sense of control through understanding.

It is important parents and carers understand as much as possible about planned hospital admission, otherwise it can be difficult to confidently prepare your child. The children’s cardiac nurse specialist team (CCNS) are always happy to discuss how things will work before admission and can be contacted on 023 8120 4659.

It is important children understand that they are coming into hospital and why in a way they can understand. We have developed some age-related guidelines that may be useful, while our charity partners Little Hearts Matter have produced a detailed guide on preparing for admission to hospital which can be very helpful.

While in hospital, a team of play specialists provide play activities for inpatients, either in the playroom or at their bedsides. They can help to prepare children for procedures using play therapy, enabling them to act out their anxieties and develop ways of coping. Play specialists can also provide pre-admission visits and practice sessions for some medical procedures before admission.

Common concerns relate to anaesthesia (video) and blood tests (video) and the team recommends the videos available via the links in brackets. There is more information on the child psychology department here 

They also organise visits from dedicated PAT (Pets as Therapy) dogs which you can find out more about and view an image gallery of on Facebook.