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Make the most of your stay

Whether you are coming in for a brief appointment, a day of testing, an extended stay or simply to offer your support as a visitor, here are some helpful pointers to make the most out of the experience.

Upon admission

  • Provide your nurse with your contact information, including mobile phone number.
  • Make sure you sign all consent forms.
  • Notify your insurance company of your child’s admission.

Ask questions

  • Prior to your visit, write down any questions you may have that you wish to discuss with the nurse or doctor.
  • Have your questions ready when you see your doctor.
  • Make sure you understand the answers you are given, and write them down.

Participate in your child’s care

  • Tell your nurses about your child’s likes and dislikes (such as food preferences).
  • Ask the nurses what you can do to help your child.

Be with your child

  • Talk to your nurses about staying overnight.
  • Ask family and friends to help take care of things at home so you can be with your child in the hospital.

Let your children know what is happening

  • Tell your child ahead of time about tests and treatments. Remember, your child looks to you for honesty and reassurance.
  • Tell your child’s siblings what is happening. Let them visit, and encourage them to talk about their feelings.

Your role as a care partner

Parents and family members
Parents, guardians and family members are all essential members of your child’s care team. By working together and listening to your goals, concerns and needs, we build understanding among all members of the team and develop your child’s best plan of care with you. During your child’s stay, we encourage your participation. Be sure to ask questions, voice your concerns and utilize our helpful resources.

TOGETHER: Tips for you as a care partner
As an active care partner, you can learn about your child’s care during a hospital stay, gain confidence in providing care and plan for the transition to home. It is helpful if you participate in nurse change of shift reports, rounds and discharge planning meetings when important information is discussed and your child’s care is planned. You may also help in managing your child’s medications and other aspects of your child’s care and recovery after you leave the hospital. 

  • Talk about your role with staff and describe how you’d like to participate in care. 
  • Observe changes (physical, behavioral, emotional) in your child and report them to healthcare providers. Ask staff what observations they would like you to routinely share.  
  • Gather helpful information (current medications, medical history, other healthcare providers and insurance) and bring it all to the hospital.
  • Ensure that you’re present. Let staff members know how to reach you when you’re away from the bedside. 
  • Tell staff if you have any concerns about your child’s condition or safety, or if you are uncomfortable because “something just doesn’t feel right.”
  • Help with decision-making about care and treatment. Ask questions and take notes. 
  • Enlist help from staff members so they can support you in care and decision-making.
  • Ready yourself for the transition to home. Before you leave the hospital, make sure your questions have been answered. Know what will be needed afterward (medications, treatment, equipment, follow-up appointments) and what changes in your child’s condition should be reported to healthcare providers. 

Mental preparation

It is important to help your child mentally prepare for a hospital stay. Parents should explain why hospitalization is needed, what the doctors and nurses will do, and that the child has not done anything wrong or bad.

We try to reduce discomfort as much as possible, but you should be honest when discussing fears about pain. Please contact your physician with specific questions so you can provide accurate information to your child.

Comfort items, such as a favorite stuffed animal, video or toy, can help make the hospital experience easier. Let your child pick what they want to bring with them.

What to bring

  • Clothing: We supply hospital gowns and diapers. However, many children prefer to wear their own clothing. Bring a few favorite items, if you’d like, along with shoes and slippers. When your child is ready to be discharged, please bring clothes they can wear home.
  • Bedding: If your child has a favorite pillow or blanket, you can bring them along. For health reasons, children must not share these items.
  • Toys: We have fully equipped playrooms on our units, but your child may want to bring a special, small, easily cleaned toy, such as a favorite stuffed animal. Mark each toy with your child’s name, and please do not share these items between children.
  • Personal-care items: Please bring your child’s own toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, shampoo and other personal-care items. Powder is not recommended. Ask your child’s nurse for any needed diapers and wipes.
  • Medical equipment: Bring any necessary glasses, hearing aids, braces, crutches or corrective shoes.
  • Pre-admission forms: Bring any forms you received from your doctor or the hospital. For surgical patients, bring any physical clearance forms from your doctor.
  • Insurance information: Bring any membership cards and any pre-admission referral forms or approval forms from your doctors, your insurance company or pediatrician. Be sure to notify your insurance provider before coming to the hospital to be admitted, unless it is an emergency. You should also bring your child’s social security number.
  • Medical information: Bring a list of all the medications your child is now taking, along with a schedule of how often and how much. Bring up-to-date immunization records from your doctor and a list of any allergies your child has. If your child has a complicated medical history, it is helpful if you write a clear explanation of their condition and history.

What not to bring

  • Prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
  • Plug-in electrical equipment. (Battery-operated equipment is allowed.)
  • Valuables such as jewelry and watches.
  • Rubber or latex balloons. (Mylar balloons are allowed.)
  • Formula or diapers. (These will be provided by the hospital.)

Available technology


Free wireless internet service is available. You may bring your personal laptop with you, or you can use the computers for parents in our Family Resource Center in the atrium.  Laptops for children are available on a select basis from our Child Life department. Please ask to speak with a Child Life specialist.


Free television service is available. In addition, each bedside is equipped with a video game console. Various games are available from our Child Life Department and at the nursing station. The consoles are also able to play DVDs, so you may bring your child’s favorite movies from home to watch at the bedside.


You are able to use your cell phone in designated areas of the hospital. We ask that after 8pm, you set it to vibrate in order to minimize the noise level on our patient units. Cell phones are restricted from use in our ICUs due to the amount of sensitive medical equipment in these areas. In room telephone service is also available for a daily fee. Please speak with the nursing staff should you require this service.

Places to stay

In-unit sleeping arrangements may be available. Please check with your nurse.

Another option is the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. A home-away-from-home for families of children receiving medical care, it is a 42-bedroom facility located on the campus of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, adjacent to Cohen Children's Medical Center.

The Ronald McDonald House provides:

  • A home-like setting minutes from your child's bedside.
  • A bright, cheerful environment where you can have your own room and private bath.
  • Amenities including kitchen facilities, laundry rooms, toy-filled playroom and well-stocked library.

For $25 per night per family, you can stay as long as is medically necessary for you to be near your child. To check availability, please speak with your social worker, floor nurse or contact the social work office at (718) 470-3124.

For those who do not need to stay overnight, or if a bedroom is not available, you can still use the available showers and other amenities. Check with your floor nurse to make arrangements or call the Ronald McDonald House directly at (718) 343-5683 or (516) 775-5683.