Children's Hospital Colorado

Your Overnight Stay

It’s normal to be nervous about an overnight hospital stay, even when you know you are in great hands. To help put your mind at ease, we’re sharing what to expect before, during and after your child’s overnight stay at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

To get ready for an overnight stay at one of our locations, you should learn about where you are going, what you’ll need to do and what will happen while you are here. The more parents know about what to expect, the better parents and kids feel.

Here are our suggestions for what to do when you learn that your child will need to spend the night at the hospital.

  • Learn about your child’s care and condition

    Before your stay, talk with your child’s doctor or staff about the procedures or tests so you'll know exactly what to expect. It is helpful to learn about your child’s symptoms or condition so you can advocate for him or her during their stay.

    Use our Family Health Library or search for information about your child’s condition.

  • Share what to expect with your child

    The more your child knows about what to expect from their overnight stay, the more comfortable and relaxed they will be. It can be helpful to talk to your whole family to make sure your child doesn’t feel alone and that your family knows what to expect.

    Here are a few tips for talking about an overnight stay with your child

    • Be honest: It’s important to let your child know that some things might hurt. But let them know it is normal to be scared, and it’s okay to cry. They need to express their feelings, ask questions and also know that things will get better.
    • Explain why: Talk to your child about the reason for their overnight stay, what the doctors and nurses will do and that it’s OK to be scared. Make sure they understand that the hospital stay is temporary.
    • Talk about who you’ll meet: Talk about the types of healthcare professionals they might meet during their visit (such as doctors, nurses and therapists), and explain that these people are there to make sure they get better quickly.
    • Talk to them about how they may feel: Talk about how your child might feel during the stay, whether they may be tired, have an upset stomach or where it might hurt.
    • Talk about what hospitals are like: Many children find it reassuring to talk about the similarities between the hospital and home. You can tell them that there will be regular meals, chances to play and a private room.
    • Talk about other patients: Talk about some of the other children that your child may meet. It can be unsettling to see people who are sick but remind your child that other kids at the hospital are there to get better, too, and that they like to play and laugh just like your child.
    • Read books that help: Pick up a few books from the Family Health Library or your local bookstore that talk about going to the hospital and read them together. Some of our favorites are Curious George Goes to the Hospital and This is a Hospital, Not a Zoo!
  • Create a list of questions and concerns

    When you’re in the hospital with your child, we want you to feel comfortable speaking up or asking questions. You can call the care team to ask questions or you can wait until your stay to meet with the doctors or nurses taking care of your child. Ask for clarification on:

    • Your child’s symptoms or diagnosis
    • Why your child needs to stay overnight
    • What will take place during their stay
    • What to expect when your child is discharged
  • Before your child’s overnight stay

    Our doctors, nurses and staff are ready for your child’s visit. If there is a need to change or cancel a scheduled appointment to the hospital, it is very important that you call at least 24 hours before your visit. This helps us rearrange our staff schedule so we can treat other children who are waiting.

    You can change your appointment by calling our main phone number: 720-777-1234. Ask to be transferred to the department that is treating your child to cancel or change your appointment.

  • Pre-register

    You will get a call you before your scheduled visit to pre-register your child for their appointment. This helps to make sure you have a quick check-in on the day of your visit and that all paperwork and insurance information is complete and accurate.

    During this call, our staff will also give you information about where to go the day of your visit and how to prepare for your visit. They will go over your insurance information and any copay amount due on the day of your visit. Your care team will call you one to two days before your visit to tell you what time you should come to the hospital for your scheduled visit.

  • Insurance pre-approval

    Your insurance provider may need your child’s stay to be approved before you visit. The doctor who referred you should handle these approvals. However, it is important to call your insurance provider to make sure they have given their approval. If not, you could be held financially responsible.

    Check to see if we accept your insurance plan and that your plan will cover your child’s visit. See which insurance plans we accept

  • Cost estimates and inpatient charges

    Our patient cost estimate specialists can also help figure out the amount your family will be responsible for paying based on your:

    • Scheduled service
    • Insurance coverage
    • Specific benefits (deductibles, co-insurance, etc.)

    It’s also important to understand inpatient charges you may have if you are paying without insurance (known as self-pay), or you want to make sure that your child’s specific treatment is covered by your insurance.

    You can also call 720-777-0720 to speak with a patient cost estimate specialist. They are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

    See common inpatient charges

  • Prepare your child’s health history

    Be sure to bring a list of information about your child’s health:

    • An up-to-date list of your child’s medicines with their dosages. Please add any vitamins and herbal supplements your child has taken in the past two weeks.
    • Health and medical records. Don’t forget to list any allergies to food, medicines or latex. Also list your child’s record of shots (immunizations).
    • Share information on any past illnesses, operations, hospital stays, tests or treatments.

    Also make sure to collect and share:

    • Your pharmacy name and phone number
    • Your preferred language or communication assistance needs
    • Religious or cultural preferences
    • Other information you would like us to know about your child
  • Pack an overnight bag

    Children enjoy having clothing and other items from home that can help make their hospital stay easier. Children’s Colorado has diapers, hospital gowns, pajama bottoms and slipper socks for your child. We also have tons of age-appropriate toys and video games.

    You may also want to pack a few things for your overnight stay

    • Comfortable daytime clothing
    • A favorite nightgown, pair of pajamas or robe
    • Slippers or shoes
    • Special bottles, cups, books, toys or bedding
    • Hairbrush, comb and barrettes
    • Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries
    • Photos that you remind your child of special friends or family
    • School books and homework
    • Glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and dental retainers
    • Children with specialized wheelchairs and/or tubes should bring appropriate supplies
    • Activities for parents (books, tablets, etc.)

    Whatever you decide to pack, please be sure to label personal items and clothing you bring to the hospital. We’ll do our best to help you keep track of them, but it is your responsibility.

    What not to bring for an overnight stay

    Please do not bring the following items:

    • Latex or rubber balloons
    • Valuables or anything of monetary or sentimental value. This could include such things as jewelry, portable music or game devices.
    • Weapons of any kind. These are not allowed on any Children’s Colorado property.

    Each department or clinic may have specific guidelines, so please ask in advance if you have any questions.

  • Check in

    When you arrive at the hospital, allow a few extra minutes to make sure you have enough time to park and find the main Information Desk, which is located in the lobby.

    There, you will be greeted by one of our Visitor Access staff members. You will need to provide identification, such as a driver’s license, so that we can issue you a security badge. All visitors, patients and family members will need a badge, and the process is quick and easy.

    Once you have your badge, staff will tell you where you need to go. Parents will be issued wristbands that match their child’s. Please wear these throughout your stay.

  • Register

    At registration, you will verify that the information you provided during pre-registration is on file and is correct. In particular, look at the name, address and insurance information recorded. Once you’ve confirmed everything is correct, the staff will then make a copy of your ID card and insurance card. They will also ask you to pay the co-pay, if there is one.

  • Wait for your child to be called

    Once you’re registered and the paperwork is ready, you may need to wait until your child is called back. Depending on the reason for the overnight stay, you may be taken back right away, or you may have to wait a while longer. You will be able to go with your child to most rooms in the hospital, except for the operating room.

  • Ask questions

    When you are taken back to your hospital room, be sure to ask your nurse any questions about your room and the floor where your child is staying. He or she will be able to answer all of them and orient you quickly to your new surroundings.

  • Keep yourself (and your child) entertained

    An overnight stay can seem scary, but once you’re settled, you may find yourself with a lot of downtime. To fill the hours between tests, doctor visits and your child's discharge, you can:

    Based on the reason for your visit, such as a short procedure or an important test, parents may also have a lot of downtime. Make sure to bring your own form of entertainment.

  • Get comfortable

    Parents are always welcome and may stay with your child overnight. Every patient room is a private room complete with a fold-out sofa bed. One or both parents may stay with their child.

  • Follow visiting hour rules

    For family and friends (excluding parents or guardians), general visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. A patient may have up to two visitors (not including parents) in the room at one time. Visiting policies can vary based on location and department.

    Things to keep in mind

    • Visitors who are sick with a cold, fever, diarrhea (loose stool), rash, flu, chicken pox or other diseases spread from person to person will not be allowed to visit.
    • Visitors under the age of 12 must always be accompanied by an adult and be checked each day for contagious diseases before visiting. Children will be screened when you check in at the nurses’ station on the floor.
    • Siblings of patients who are not in isolation may use play areas but should not enter other patient rooms to play.
    • Visitors must wash their hands before leaving the patient’s room.
    • Special visiting restrictions are in place between December and April during flu and respiratory season when harmful germs can be spread easily.

  • Get discharge orders to leave the hospital

    Once the doctor has given the discharge order, your child’s healthcare team will begin to make plans for a safe and comfortable transition home. It may take a little time to coordinate services with other community providers if your child needed any special care, medical equipment and supplies.

  • Ask questions before leaving

    Your child's doctor and nurses will teach you about any care needed at home, medications and follow-up appointments. Think through any of you questions or concerns before you leave the hospital and be sure to get them answered so that you are confident about going home. If you do forget a question, do not hesitate to call the number provided in your discharge paperwork to follow up.

    Here are a few ideas for questions to ask:

    • Which activities should my child avoid?
    • Are there foods that are off limits?
    • When can my child return to school and play?
    • What should I be aware of over the next few days?
    • Do we need to come back for any reason?
  • Watch your child closely at home

    After your child has returned home, their activities may not be back to normal, so you’ll want to watch them closely.

    • Your child’s eating habits might be different than normal. Don’t force them to eat but do encourage them to drink fluids regularly.
    • Depending on your child’s overnight stay, they may have some pain, be cranky or have a slight fever.

    Some children do change their behavior for a short time when they get home. You might see a change in sleeping patterns, a tendency to be more clingy or to express more fear. This behavior is normal and temporary.

  • Make recovery at home easy

    • Talk to your child about his hospital visit and encourage them to ask questions.
    • Make a memory book about the hospital and talk about the people you met there.
    • Entertain your child with toys or games that they really enjoy.

    If you have any question about how your child is feeling or if they are healing as expected, please call your care team as instructed when you left the hospital. Remember that you are not alone, and we are here to help you.

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