Preparing for Your Child's Visit: Frequently Asked Questions

Whether your child is coming to Rush University Children’s Hospital for a procedure or surgery or needs to stay in the hospital to recover from an illness or injury, we know you have many questions.

Here you’ll find answers to some FAQs to help you prepare for your child’s visit — and keep you and your child comfortable during your time at Rush. Please talk to your child’s nursing team or your child’s physician if you have any additional questions during your child’s stay.

little girl sitting on doctor table

What’s the best resource for general information about Rush, such as where to park?

Staff at Rush University Children’s Hospital want your experience here to be as stress-free as possible. To help guide and inform you before you visit, we encourage you to refer to our family resources information. This includes parking information, visiting hours, places to eat, amenities for families and siblings, and much more.

What can I do to prepare my child for surgery?

  • Be honest with your child. This will help maintain trust between you and your child as well as decrease anxiety and increase your child’s ability to cope.
  • Be prepared. Do your research and have answers to your child’s questions ready. This will decrease your own anxiety and allow you to best support your child throughout their surgical experience
  • Provide opportunities for your child to ask questions and share feelings about their surgery.
  • Take care of yourself. Children feed-off parents’ emotions. So, eat right, sleep if you can, and find ways to decompress so you are emotionally able to process what is going on and you can support your child.
  • Read books about surgery to young children. Here are some suggestions for younger children: Franklin Goes to the Hospital, by Paulette Bourgeois; Curious George Goes to the Hospital, by H.A. Reye and Margaret Reye; A Big Operation, by Richard Scarry.

Do I need to bring my child’s medications from home?

Bringing medication from home is helpful. Your child’s health care team may want to check medications or dosages. And, in some cases, a certain medicine may not be readily available in the hospital’s in-house pharmacy. Most of the time, though, our staff can obtain the medications your child needs during their stay from our in-house pharmacy.

Should my child wear or bring anything special?

Your child can wear anything they want. Sometimes it’s comforting for children to come in their pajamas or even a costume. They will change into hospital pajamas once they get here.

Please have your child take off any jewelry (including earrings and belly button piercings). Your child’s valuables (e.g., wallets, cell phones, tablets) should stay with parents during surgery or be left at home.

Feel free to bring your child’s favorite item — a stuffed animal, blanket, toy, family photo, or whatever gives comfort to your child. Your child can hold these while they wait for surgery. And you can bring these to their room once surgery is over.

It’s also a good idea to bring something to entertain them while they wait for surgery, like a book, laptop or game. Forgot to bring something? Don’t worry. Rush has age-appropriate items to keep your child occupied while they wait for surgery.

Where do we check in for surgery? 

Depending on where your child will be having surgery, you will check in at one of two locations at Rush:

  • Atrium, 4th floor, surgery registration desk
  • Tower, 1st floor, surgery registration desk

How does the check in process work?

At that desk, you’ll confirm all of your child’s information, including date of birth, address and insurance. Parents and children will get identification bands. Once that process is complete, you’ll be directed to a surgical waiting area (location depends on where your child is having surgery):

  • Atrium, 5th floor
  • Tower, 5th floor
  • Tower, 7th floor

You’ll check in again in the surgical waiting area. Our staff will ask you to confirm or provide contact information so the health care team can reach you during your child’s surgery. They’ll also ask whether you’d like to get text message updates throughout your child’s surgery.

Staff will give you a number that corresponds to your child. You can use this number to track your child’s location in the hospital on a monitor in the surgical waiting area.

Can other children and family members come with me on the day of my child’s surgery?

Yes, other children and family members are welcome in the hospital on the day of your child’s surgery. If possible, please bring another adult with you if you bring small children. That way, you can focus on your child’s surgery and talking to the health care team throughout the day. Family members may be asked to remain in the waiting room when you and your child go into the preoperative (pre-op) area.

When will I see my child after surgery?

Once surgery is complete and your child is safely settled in the recovery area, nurses will call you to come to the bedside. It’s important for parents to be there during the wake-up process, so we do this as soon as possible.

Is my child’s room private or will they need to share with someone?

All rooms on the pediatric general unit (located on 6 Kellogg) and in the pediatric intensive care unit (located on 8 Kellogg) are private. You are welcome and encouraged to stay overnight with your child. We provide one chair or couch that opens to a bed in each room for your comfort and convenience.

My child will be staying in the hospital for a few days. Are there special amenities for her?

In addition to taking care of your child’s health needs, Rush University Children’s Hospital makes every effort to make children feel comfortable and special while they are here. Here are some examples of how we do that:

  • Games, toys: Child life specialists help explain procedures in kid-friendly ways and engage your child in meaningful, age-appropriate activities.
  • Pets: Your child’s pet may be eligible for a visit; ask your child’s nurse about our pet visitor policy. Also, Rush offers pet therapy for children admitted to the hospital. Rush University Children’s Hospital has a live-in hospital bunny, dogs that visit weekly and miniature horses that visit monthly.
  • Art: Snow City Arts, an arts education program in the hospital, works with children on a daily basis and brings musicians, visual artists, filmmakers and writers to the hospital on a rotating basis. Children can even receive Chicago Public School credit for work done with this program.
  • Magic: Open Heart Magic sends magicians to visit and engage children three times a week.
  • Comedy: The Funny Bones Improv group entertains children twice a month.
  • Birthday celebrations: We love birthdays at Rush University Children’s Hospital and know how to throw a party. Talk to your child’s care team if your child, you or another family member has a birthday during your child’s hospital stay.

What are the visiting policies at Rush?

We encourage family members and caregivers to spend as much time as possible with their children when they are in the hospital. Learn more about our visitors’ policies.

Are there any special amenities for parents and siblings?

Yes, Rush University Children’s Hospital has a number of amenities for our young patients and their families. The general inpatient unit has lounges, showers and an exercise room for parents. Rush even offers free massages for parents on certain scheduled days during the month.

If you have little ones, feel free to take them to the playroom in the pediatric unit. Adult supervision is required. There’s also a teen lounge on the pediatric unit for older siblings to hang out.

If you’re looking to do some research or have questions about local services, visit one of the resource centers at Rush.

My child has food allergies. Will she be able to eat meals at the hospital? Are there meals available for my family and me?

As a patient, your child can order meals from a child- and teen-friendly menu during their admission. Menu options will be based on any dietary restrictions, such as allergies.

Meals are not provided for parents, but there are several nearby dining options. These include Au Bon Pain, which is open all day, every day, as well as the cafeteria, which is open until 3 p.m. Families are welcome to bring food from home to be stored in refrigerator in nurse supply room. Many nearby restaurants also deliver.

Where can we stay if we are from out of town or live far from the hospital?

You and your family have several lodging and overnight options near Rush.

Is free Wi-Fi available?

Yes, free Wi-Fi can be found at several locations throughout the Medical Center. Choose RushPub in your network; there is no password.