Guidelines for Groups Visiting
We are delighted that you are interested in visiting Riley Hospital for Children. Your generosity in wishing to help make the hospital a positive experience for our patients and families is greatly appreciated. Special Events mean a lot to a hospitalized child. The following guidelines have been put together to help you understand the needs of our patients and families:
PLANNING YOUR VISIT
- Please call us with your questions at 317.944.8293.
- All special events and visitors must be approved and scheduled in advance by the Child Life Department through the Special Events Coordinator.
- All special visitors must be at least 18 years of age or older to comply with Infection Control Policies set up for the safety of our patients.
- We hope your visit will be a memorable one, and you may want to take photographs to share with others. Arrangements must be made in advance with the Special Events Coordinator if you wish to have photographs of patients taken for personal use or publication. Press releases should be coordinated with appropriate staff. Written permission from the parent on a Indiana University Health Media Release Form. Media coverage of an event may frighten children, or they may become apprehensive in front of a camera. A member of the Child Life staff must be present to assist in media coverage.
- Cold and Flu can hit us at anytime and cannot always be avoided. Visitors should postpone their visit if they are ill, have a fever blister, or exposure to any infectious illnesses such as chicken pox within the past two weeks (or 30 days after vaccination). We ask you call as soon as possible if you need to cancel your visit. We do invite the children to special events in advance so give as much notice as possible in order to deter any disappointment. Please call the Child Life Department if you have any questions.
- If you are planning a performance or activity, please keep in mind that many of our children will come and go during the allotted time. They may need to return to their room for a medical procedure or to rest. Please know that this is no reflection on your group.
- Activities should be easily adapted to include children of all ages and to allow them to become actively involved. Suggestions include audience participation, group sing-along, distribution of rhythm instruments (available from the Child Life Department for musical performances), arts and crafts, and games are always a success.
- Because our children come from very diverse backgrounds, we must limit some activities that might be frightening to a hospitalized child. Clowns are not permitted in Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Activities involving costumed characters must be pre-approved and escorted by the Child Life Staff. Religious, political, and cultural sensitivity should always be taken into consideration. We ask all guests to respect the principle that Riley Hospital for Children (and Indiana University Health) supports the value of spirituality in healing and health and at the same time does not promote or endorse any particular religion or religious practice.
- Items that cannot be cleaned with a liquid cleanser provided by the hospital should not be used during special events. If you have an item that will be passed between patients, we will help clean the item between patient contact. Cloth items or stuffed animals are unable to be cleaned and cannot be passed between patients due to infection control standards.
- Many groups like to distribute gifts or souvenirs during their visit. Please remember that only toys or favors approved by the Child Life Department may be distributed. This is to insure the items are safe for our patients with diverse needs. Some items may be considered choking hazards or may contain latex, which is harmful to certain patients. It is very helpful when extra favors are available for the Child Life Department to distribute to children who were unable to attend an event. We discourage food items due to the dietary restrictions of some patients. Exceptions may be made but must be approved by the Child Life Department.
- Performances must not include fireworks, candles, knives, or other potentially harmful materials. Latex balloons and other items containing latex may not be distributed to the patients due to allergies and the potential for choking. Mylar balloons are a safe alternative.
- Please remember that jokes and humorous stories should be appropriate for younger children and should not discredit hospital staff. This is a pediatric setting, and consequently, adult humor and humor pertaining to children with illnesses may make patients and families uncomfortable.
- Guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled event time to allow for parking and orientation to the hospital. If you have equipment set up needs, please inform the Special Events Coordinator to plan your arrival time.
- Your visit may be videotaped for later broadcast on Riley Hospital’s Closed Circuit Television, Channel 5, and may be televised for patients unable to attend.
- Parking for visitors is available in the Wilson Street Garage (off 10th Street) or Riley Outpatient Garage (off Riley Hospital Drive). Please report to the Information Desk in the Atrium of the main hospital as soon as you arrive. Ask the attendant to call Child Life at extension 4-8293. Your Child Life escort will meet you in the Atrium. A courtesy pass will be given to visitors, which will cover parking fees.
- Refrain from wearing shorts, mini skirts, sweat pants, and other attire that is inappropriate when working in a hospital. Wear clean, closed toe, soft soled shoes. Tennis shoes are appropriate. Hosiery or socks are required. Sandals or Flip-Flops are not to be worn. Tattoos are not to be visible at any time.
- Refrain from wearing perfumes, cologne, or aftershave. Many people have allergies or respiratory conditions and cannot tolerate scents and fragrances.
VISITING WITH THE CHILDREN
- Approaching children should be done in a manner that will not frighten them. Approach them slowly and bend down to their level, allowing them to decide the extent to which they wish to interact with you. If a child shows any resistance to your greeting, please be sensitive and respect their personal space.
- Please do NOT pick up any children because they may have hidden incisions or tubing that you are unaware of such as tubes used for feeding or extracting fluids from the body, IV tubing connected to pumps, and oxygen tubes or mask. Please feel free to bend down to their level and interact with them. Please take special care not to step on tubing or bump poles. If you have questions or need help, please ask any of the Child Life or nursing staff.
- Greet our children as you would any other children. Introduce yourself in a friendly manner. Explain the purpose of your visit. Comment on their eyes; ask about their interests, school, hometown, favorite sports, etc. Avoid such questions as "What happened to you?", "How long have you been here?", or "When are you going home?" Comments such as "Get well Soon!" or "See you next time!" are also confusing to the children. When leaving say "I’m glad to have met you" or "I enjoyed visiting with you." Be sure your comments are positive.
- The appearance of a burned child, a child without hair, or a child with an amputation may make you feel uncomfortable. Be prepared to meet these children. They enjoy the same interaction as any child. Sometimes we do not know how we will react to a hospital setting. Feel free to let a member of the Child Life staff know if you become uncomfortable, and they will assist you in taking a break.
- A member of the Child Life staff will be with you at all times during your visit. Please stay with the group. You may enter only those patient rooms that are designated by the Child Life staff member. You may sit on a chair or kneel next to the bed in order to be at the child’s eye level. Avoid sitting on the bed. Be mindful of medical tubing.
- Please feel free to ask the staff questions outside the patient's room. We ask you to avoid asking questions in front of the children or families. Due to confidentially, we can only share general information. Once you have left the hospital, it is important that you not disclose names of any patients you met while visiting to respect the privacy of our families.
We hope these guidelines assist you in planning your visit, and we look forward to working with you. The Child Life Department at Riley Hospital for Children strives to normalize the lives of our patients. Bringing special events to the hospital helps us complete our goal and put smiles on the faces of our patients. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Special Events Coordinator at 317.944.8293. We appreciate your efforts to brighten the day of the children in our hospital. We hope you enjoy your visit.