My brother or sister is in hospital

Children and young people come into hospital for all different reasons. Sometimes they visit the outpatients department for an appointment or they have to stay in hospital for the day, overnight or until they are well enough to go home. 

My Brother/Sister’s Outpatient Appointment

Children’s Outpatients at The Royal London Hospital is based across the 6th and 7th floor. Clinic 1 and 2 are on the 6th floor and clinics 3, 4 and 5 are on the 7th floor. 

The clinics can get really busy so your brother/sister may be asked to wait before your appointment. It’s a good idea to bring something to do with you so you don’t get too bored waiting. There is a play area in all the clinics with toys and activities to do. You can also speak to the Play Team who can provide extra activities. Sometimes there are special entertainers who come to visit outpatients, such as magicians and balloon modellers. 

My Brother/Sister’s Visit to Accident and Emergency 

Children’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) is located on the ground floor of Royal London Hospital. Children come here for all different reasons. 

If you come with your brother/sister you will be asked to wait in the playroom until their name is called by a nurse or doctor. There are many toys and activities in the playroom for you to play with while you wait. You will see lots of other children/young people and their families while you are in A&E so sometimes there may be a wait to see the doctor. It might be a good idea to bring some of your favourite things to do while you wait. 

The doctors and nurses will decide how to make your brother/sister better. Most children/young people go home after seeing the doctor but sometimes if they are very poorly, the doctor may want them to stay at the hospital until they are well enough to go home. If they stay at the hospital, your parent/carer can stay with them so they are not on their own. 

My Brother/Sister’s Day Stay Appointment 

Sibling visitors cannot come with their brothers/sisters to hospital for their Day Stay Appointment. Having a brother/sister in hospital can make you feel worried about things. You may have many questions about why your brother/sister has to come to hospital. It is a good idea to talk about how you are feeling to your family and ask any questions you may have. Please see the below section ‘What can I do to help my brother/sister when they are in hospital’ for more ideas of how you can help.  

My brother/sisters inpatient stay 

If your brother or sister is very poorly they may have to stay overnight in hospital until they are well enough to go home. They stay on an inpatient ward. At the Royal London Hospital there are five inpatient wards on the 7th Floor (7C, 7D, 7F, 7E and 7E respiratory) and intensive care on the 6th floor (6C). On the wards you will see lots of different members of staff. For example, Domestics, Porters, Hostesses, Nurses, Doctors, Play Specialists, Play Workers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, Speech and Language Therapists and the Paediatric Liaison Team.

Everyone on the ward is there to help make your brother/sister’s stay as easy as possible and to make you’re them feel better. If there is anything you want to know more about, you can ask the nurses, doctors and therapists. 

Your brother/sister will get their own bed to sleep in and a cupboard to keep all their things safe. Someone can stay with your brother/sister when they are in hospital and will get their own bed to sleep on. 

What to expect when I come to visit my brother/sister in hospital

Hospitals can be a strange place at first, you may see things that you have never seen before and hear things you have not heard before. As time goes on, you will get more comfortable being at the hospital when you come to visit your brother/sister. 

When I come to visit my brother/sister in hospital, what is there to do?

  • If you would like to go online there’s free WiFi at The Royal London Hospital. You can ask a member of staff to help you get online.
  • There is a play room on every inpatient ward which is open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday where you can play with your brother/sister! 
  • The Play Team can provide you and your brother/sister with toys, activities and entertainment during their stay so you can play together when you come to visit them. They have a range of games, toys, art and craft materials and sensory play equipment so there is something for everyone! The team also has TVs/DVD players and consoles. These are shared between all patients in the hospital so it is a good idea to bring important things with you that help reduce your worries and boredom (See the link to FAQ section ‘what can I bring with me to hospital’). Please ask a member of the Play Team who will be very happy to help with this during your stay.   
  • The Play Team has a monthly schedule of group play activities which you are welcome to join with you brother/sister if they are well enough or you can join in on your own. After school there are also activities in the evening. Project Play is a group of medical students who volunteer their time to provide out of hours activity sessions. They have sessions for children on Monday and Tuesday evenings 6:00-7:30pm and Saturday 2-4pm during term times and a session for teenagers Thursday 6:00-7:30pm. 
  • Sometimes special visitors pop in to see the children in hospital such as magicians, fairies, balloon modellers and therapy dogs! There are always lots of things to see and do while you bother/sister is staying.

Your feelings 

Having a brother/sister in hospital can make you feel worried about things. You may have many questions about why your brother/sister is in hospital. It is a good idea to talk about how you are feeling to your family and ask any questions you may have.  Play Specialists or other members of their health care team are great people to talk to in hospital if you want to talk to someone outside of your family.  

What can I do to help my brother/sister when they are in hospital 

Here are some ideas of things you could do to help make the hospital feel more like home:

  • You could make them a drawing to help decorate their room
  • You could write them a card or letter about how you are feeling and what has been happening at home 
  • You could take in some of their favourite toys or activities that your brother/sister may like to play with in hospital
  • You could send them a special picture or video 
  • You could speak to them on the phone or online 
  • You may have many more ideas of things that you can do to help

Frequently asked questions

What can I bring with me when I come to visit my brother/sister in hospital? 

  • Toys to help if you get bored 
  • Something to remind your brother/sister of home and family e.g a card, drawings, pictures or a favourite toy

Who can stay with my brother/sister in hospital?

  • Your parent/carer can stay with your brother/sister when they are in hospital. There is a bed next to theirs where one person can stay. 

Visiting times

  • Visiting times are a bit different on every ward. Please ask a member of staff when you arrive. 
  • Your parents/carers can visit your brother/sister anytime 
  • You can visit your brother/sister when you are not at school 
  • Only three visitors are allowed by your brother/sister’s bed at one time

Is there WiFi?

  • If you want to go online there’s free WiFi at The Royal London Hospital. You can ask a member of staff to help you get online.

Food options

  • There is a canteen on the 5th Floor of the hospital and a Costa Café on the ground floor where you can buy food and drinks