Cardiology | For Parents | Common Questions

May I stay with my child during tests or procedures?

You can accompany your child to all the tests and, as with an EKG or echocardiogram, even hold your child while the test is being performed. For cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery, you can stay with your child until he or she is ready for anesthesia. Then you are asked to wait in your child's room or the surgery waiting room.


Can I donate blood for my child's surgery?

Donating blood for a specific surgery is called 'directed donation.' You child's cardiologist or surgeon can discuss directed donation with you and provide the request forms needed to start the procedure.

Directed donations must be given at a Red Cross donor center at least three working days prior to the recipient's scheduled surgery. The blood is then processed by the Red Cross and shipped to St. Louis Children's Hospital. Donors will be screened with the same standards applied to all volunteer blood donors and must satisfy requirements for blood type compatibility.


Can I stay overnight in my child's room?

One parent can spend the night in the room with the child and another can stay in the parent lounge on your child's floor. The parent lounge is equipped with sleeping and shower facilities. Because of the extra level of precaution required in the intensive care units, parents of patients in the PICU or NICU cannot stay overnight in their child's room. These parents can spend the night in the PICU or NICU parent lounge.


What should I bring to the hospital?

The hospital furnishes the basics: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, diapers and pajamas. You're welcome to bring pajamas from home and items that will help your child feel comfortable, such as a favorite toy or blanket. Label any personal items clearly.

Bring all medications your child is currently taking at home, including label information, dosage and frequency. Let your nurse know about any medications you bring from home.

School-aged children can bring their schoolwork so they can keep up with classmates during hospitalization. Certified teachers are available to provide assistance.


Do you have information about support groups?

'Heart to Heart' was established by parents of children treated for cardiac problems. The group serves as an emotional support network and meets regularly to exchange information. The cardiology services social worker can give you details.


Can my child visit the hospital before admission?

Preadmission visits are held regularly to familiarize parents and patients with the hospital in a relaxed atmosphere prior to the child's admission. The visit includes a slide show, presentation about hospital resources and a tour of the hospital. Call (314) 454-5437, then press 4, to schedule a preadmission visit.


For Additional Information

In each patient room is a reference guide, A Parent's Guide to St. Louis Children's Hospital, which provides valuable information about the hospital's resources and services.

If you have additional questions about St. Louis Children's Hospital or your child's testing or procedures prior to admission, call the Cardiology Department at (314) 454-6095, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you need to reach the department at other times, call (314) 454-6000 and ask the operator to page the Cardiology Fellow

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