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Caring for children in an emergency or for an operation

This page was last updated: June 23rd, 2021

Our acute care service looks after children and young people coming in for an operation or who have been admitted as an emergency.

We know waking up in hospital can be scary, so we have a number of dedicated children’s wards (Fistral and Clic, HarlynPolkerris and Paediatric HDU) specially set up to look after children and make their stay more comfortable.

Coming in for an operation

We know that coming into hospital can be daunting, but don’t worry, everyone is very friendly and will explain what is going to happen.

What to bring with you

  • Your inhaler, tablets or any medicines you are taking. (Mums, Dads and Carers, please make sure your child also brings any over the counter medicines they have been taking. If they take regular medicines, a copy of the printed ‘repeat prescription slip’ from their GP surgery would also be very helpful.)
  • Night clothes, slippers (non-slip) and dressing gown.
  • Comfortable clothes or a tracksuit.
  • Your toiletries (e.g. towel, soap, flannel, toothbrush, hairbrush).
  • You may also want to bring something to write in or read such as books, magazines or comics. You can bring your phone, tablet or your laptop with you as well, but sometimes these can disturb other children on the ward, so don’t forget your headphones! It’s a good idea to make sure anything you bring with you is clearly marked with your name.
  • It’s best not to bring any valuables with you, please leave them at home or give them to your parents for safe keeping.

When you arrive

When you come into hospital, come to the nurses station and a member of the team will greet you, show you where you’ll be staying and explain what’s going to happen. They will help you get settled in, show you where things are and answer any questions you have.

Who you’ll meet

On a typical day you will be seen by several different people, including doctors, nurses, play therapists and maybe physiotherapists and the hospital school teachers. The wards are very busy with lots of people all trying to make you better. The hostesses will make sure you have nice food to eat and the cleaners will help keep the ward clean and tidy. Everyone should have an official Royal Cornwall Hospitals identity badge on, but if you’re not sure who they are or what they do, please just ask.

What you’ll eat

As you’d expect, we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. There is always a choice and it’s no problem if you have a special diet like vegan, kosher, or gluten ­free etc., just get your parent or carer to tell us as soon as you can. You can have a drink with your meal and at other times during the day. If anything makes you miss a meal, we’ll make sure you get a snack to keep you going.

If you’re having an operation or a test, you might not be allowed to eat or drink before, or you might need a special diet; if so, we will tell you about it. Do also check with your nurse or doctor before you have any food or drink that’s been brought in for you.

If you need help with eating, special cutlery or anything else, we’ll give you one of our extra special red trays and the staff will know to come and help.

Going home

We will talk to you and your parents or carers about what happens when you go home. We’ll try to tell you when we think that will be and make a plan for care after you leave hospital. You might have to come back in to see us later on. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have about going home.

Practical Information

Your parent or carer can find out all the information they need about bringing you to the Royal Cornwall Hospital here

Play service

Hospital play specialists work alongside doctors and nurses to provide young patients and their families with play, activities and support whilst they visit or stay in hospital.

This may include developmental play for those who have been ill or had an accident, preparation for procedures or support to distract children when needed. Play specialists also organise special events, parties and trips.

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