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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I access your services?

Apart from Emergency Care, all of our services are accessed by referral via a health professional, often your GP or General Paediatrician.  If you are  from outside of the Bristol area, your child may be referred by their current consultant or lead health professional.

How do you work with parents and carers?

Parents and carers are a key part of the multi-disciplinary care team and so staff willbe keen to work with you while your child an inpatient.  This will be agreed via the disability assessment which will be completed within 48 hours of your admission.  This includes agreeing resposibility for basic care which you may chose to continue to provide, in which case respite breaks will be agreed.  You can ask for any agreements to be reviewed if your circumstances or the needs of your child change during admission by speaking to your named nurse.

How can I plan for an admission?

Completeing the Hospital Passport will give us an easily accessible picture of your child's needs to help us plan for an admission.  Once you have a date, you are welcome to contact either Martyn or Shirley or the LIAISE team to discuss any particular needs.  They will liaise with the ward to ensure that any special provision which your child may need, such as Safesides or hoisting equipment will be available when you arrive.  Alternatively, you are welcome to discuss these needs with the ward direct on the contact numbers shown in the link above.

How do I contact my child's doctors during an admission?

The nursing staff will be able to contact your doctor if you need to clarify an aspect of care but there are usually regular ward rounds where your doctor or a member of their team will visit.  If you are concerned about your child, we have an escalation policy to ensure that your concerns are noted, addressed and documented.  Posters are displayed in most ward areas and your named nurse will be able to explain this further.

What facilities are available for parents and carers to stay?

There is a drop-down bed for one parent at the side of most of our patient beds, and we also have some family accommodation for other family members to stay.  This is allocated once you arrive at the hospital and families who are expected to stay more than 5 days and who are at some distance from home will be given priority. Please ask your nurse to make a referral for you when you arrive on the ward as there is often a waiting list.  Details of local accommodation can be obtained from Main Reception or the LIAISE team.

My child recieves a range of support in the community.  Will this continue while they are in hospital?

We are generally happy to welcome other health professionals who are providing ongoing packages of care onto the ward to continue supporting your child.  With your permission, we will share information with them to help them adapt any care provision to your child's current needs.  However, not all service providers are able to agree to this.  Please speak to your service provider as soon as you are aware of an admission and ask them to contact Martyn or Shirley on 0117 342 8653 if they have any questions.

Will my child's educational support continue?

If your child is of school age and expected to be an inpatient for more than 5 days, our hospital school team will be able to offer their support.  They will liaise with your child's school to support planned programmes of study, adapting their approach to your child's condition on a daily basis.  Support from our special educational needs teacher is available if required, as is input from the play team and our music therapy service to ensure your child received the stimulation that they need to encourage development and expression.  The school team generally identify patients who need their support but you are welcome to ask your nurse to contact them.

My child is under a number of specialists.  Will they all visit during an admission?

Generally, it is the team who have arranged the admission that will be your main contact during your stay.  However, if you feel you need input from other teams who also provide care to your child, please discuss this either with your nurse or with the doctors during ward round.  You are welcome to let other teams know that your child is being admitted or ask us to do this for you, but we cannot guarentee it will be possible for them to see you if you do not need their specific care at that time.

My child struggles to understand what is going on in hospital.  Who can help?

The hospital play specialists are very skilled at helping families find the best way of making this child feel safe and comfortable.  Advice and guidance is also available from Claire or Shirley or from our psychology team.  Easy read guides are available together with picture resources, and opportunities to visit the hospital prior to admission to help your child feel more at home.  Each child is different and we are developing a range of resources to meet these needs so please contact theb disability team to discuss the support you need and we will do our best to help you find the right resources for you.

I need to bring my child to the Emergency Department but there is no way he will cope with the waiting.  What can we do?

If you already have a hospital passport, the Emergency team will print it off and will know that you need extra help.  If not, ask your doctor to include the information in their referral letter or if you are coming straight to us, let the receptionist know.  Where possible the team will try to find you a quiet space and arrange for you to be seen as soon as they can. However, we do have to prioritise patients according to how unwell they are, so you may have to wait if the department is busy.  If you are struggling, please let us know and we'll try to help.

My child is autistic and finds going to outpatients really difficult.  How can we make it easier?

Speak to your consultant about whether it is possible to arrange an appointment when the clinic is less crowded.  If your child struggles to concentrate, it may be possible for them to spend some time with the play team while you have chance to talk to the doctor.  If there are things that will help your child feel more secure and settled, such as special toys or ways of communicating, let us know via the hospital passport.