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Preparing for Your Visit

What to Bring   

image of clown with little kid dressed as clownThe following information will assist you in preparing for your visit to CHEO.

If you have visited CHEO before, be sure to bring your child's CHEO hospital card. If this is your first visit, please bring your Provincial healthcare registration: in Ontario it is the O.H.I.P. card, and for Quebec residents, it is the R.A.M.Q. card. If you have private insurance, please bring that information as well. A parent or legal guardian will have to sign the necessary Ministry of Health consent forms for patients under 16 years of age.

The healthcare team will also want to know: any medications being taken, and the time of the last dose; your child's immunization record; and details about any allergies to food or drugs.

Depending on the length of stay in hospital, you may want to bring spending money for meals and parking, clothes, pyjamas and slippers, any special toys or family photos, and toiletry. Everything should be marked with your child's name.

For the benefit of everyone's safety and health, CHEO promotes an allergy safe environment. Please do not bring in any peanut products or latex balloons. CHEO is also scent-free so please avoid wearing perfume. If you or your child has food allergies, please shop wisely at CHEO as you would elsewhere. We thank you for respecting these guidelines when visiting CHEO.

CHEO is completely smoke-free. This means that smoking is not permitted in any location considered to be CHEO property, including the parking lots.

Keeping infection to a minimum is an important part of CHEO's job. You may see staff wearing masks, gloves and special gowns for this purpose. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for 15 seconds and using the hand sanitizer found throughout the hospital regularly is the best way to limit the spread of germs, even if you are feeling well. It is important to wash your hands before entering and after leaving a patient's room. Some rooms have special isolation instructions to follow as well. You can help reduce the spread of infections by handling your own child only, and not sharing your child's toys or belongings with other children.

Please DO NOT visit if you are sick with a cold, flu, or other infectious disease. This applies for child visitors as well. Children should NOT visit if they have been in contact with a communicable disease, such as measles or chicken pox. This is of UTMOST importance in protecting our patients who are already sick. Please see our Visitors Guidelines pamphlet (199KB Adobe Acrobat® file).

Where to Go

  • Clinic Visits

    If you are coming to CHEO for an outpatient clinic appointment, please report directly to the individual clinic (See map of CHEO). Once you have checked in at the Reception Desk of the clinic, clinic staff will care for you and your child from that point. 
  • Day Surgery

    Go directly to the Day Surgery Department on the third floor.
  • Emergencies

    Go directly to the Emergency Entrance. Once you have checked in at Triage, Emergency staff will care for you and your child.
  • Planned Admissions

    The Admitting Office will contact you by phone or by mail once they receive your doctor's request for admission. At that time, you will receive important information and any special instructions for the admission. The Admitting Department will also contact you the day before admission to confirm the time of admission, and give you directions as to where to report once you arrive.

While at CHEO

  • Where will my child be staying?

    There are eight inpatient units at CHEO, including Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care.

    Sometimes a child may be moved within a Unit, or moved to a different one, usually because of space pressures. You will be notified in advance if this is to happen. There are no private rooms, however there are single rooms used for isolation purposes. If your child does not need to be isolated, she/he will share a room with one or two other patients.
  • Who will be caring for my child?

    A whole team of professionals will look after your child or teen when you come to CHEO. Here are some of the people you might meet.
    PDF Your Healthcare practitioners (972KB PDF file)


    Healthcare teams in the hospital are grouped as Patient Service Units (PSUs). These groupings contain inpatient and outpatient teams so that no matter where your child is in terms of their recovery, he/she will remain under the same PSU according to their diagnosis. This organization makes it easier to have continuity in your child's care. The PSU healthcare teams are made up of many different professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and others. Which team members are involved will depend on your child's or family's needs.

  • How do I inquire about my child?

    As a parent and valued member of your child's care team, you may call the hospital any time for updates. The Unit where your child is staying can be reached through the hospital switchboard at 613-737-7600, or directly through the Unit's phone number. Shift change is a busy time and outside calls will not be taken between 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 7:30-8:30 p.m. We're happy to take your calls at any time, with the exceptions of these indicated times. Information is always readily available through your child's nurse, who can also help you reach any other of the healthcare team members caring for your child.

    Updates and information will only be supplied to the parent or legal guardian of a child. We would therefore appreciate your asking other family members or friends to check with you, and not the unit, for information. Respecting the privacy of other patients and their families is extremely important.

  • What about visiting?

    Please see our Visitors Guidelines pamphlet (199KB Adobe Acrobat® file). Parents are always welcome 24 hours a day. One parent may stay overnight in the child’s room in a special armchair which converts into a bed. We encourage other family members, including siblings and grandparents, to visit during visiting hours from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. daily, including week-ends and statutory holidays. No more than 2 people at any time can visit a patient (includes at bedside and in playroom) at any one time. Other family members or visiting friends are invited to wait in the coffee shop, cateteria or main lobby and to take turns visiting with the patient. All visitors, except parents, must sign in at the Unit desk before visiting a child. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) have special visiting arrangements which the nursing staff of these Units will be pleased to explain.
  • What activities are available for the patient?

Child Life Specialists
The Child Life Specialists help children to learn, to play and do creative projects while in hospital. Child Life Specialists are also trained in "medical play", which assists children in understanding their illness, and any anxious feelings they may have relating to it.

Activity/Play Rooms
There are Activity Rooms for patients on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors where Child Life Specialists and special Volunteers are available to provide play and learning materials and supervise activities. The hours of the activity rooms are posted on each Activity Room's door.

Schooling
Teachers affiliated with the Ottawa school system are available in the hospital to provide continued schooling for longer-stay patients. Your healthcare team will make these arrangements with you and your child.

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