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.
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.
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.