If your child is visiting ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital (TCH) for the first time, you may not know about all of the services offered. The Family Advisory Council (FAC) is comprised of parents of children who frequently utilize the care at TCH. As chairperson of the Council, I hope to provide in this column some of our insights to make your visit less stressful.
Ronald McDonald House
First, TCH is very fortunate to have the Ronald McDonald House next door. The Ronald McDonald House provides free food, lodging and laundry to families of patients at Toledo Children’s Hospital and surrounding medical facilities. Ask your nurse or social worker for a referral form. They can help you fill it out and fax it over to the House. Families who live outside of Toledo may have a room at the House while Toledo residents may use the House as a day guest. For more information regarding the Ronald McDonald House, please call them directly at 417-471-4663, ext. 6104. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Parent Mentor Program
TCH also offers a Parent Mentor program. Parent Mentors are parents of children who have received care at TCH, who volunteer to be a resource to fellow parents at the hospital. Parent Mentors understand the anxiety, frustration, fear, and all other emotions that parents feel while their child is being treated, because they have experienced it first-hand. Parent Mentors want to make that journey easier for the next parent. A nurse or social worker can connect you with a Parent Mentor.
Patient and Family Centered Care
Ask questions. TCH practices the philosophy of Patient and Family Centered Care, which requires collaboration with families. Always ask questions about your child’s care when they arise. As a parent, you know your child best and should have the opportunity to make informed decisions. A green notebook is provided in each patient room for families to use to write down questions as they form. There is also a space on the white boards in patient rooms to write notes or short questions for providers.
Child Life can also be an asset for your child’s treatment. Child Life coordinates activities, supplies toys and resources, and provides a tutor that’s available to help coordinate and assist with homework. Should your child need imaging or a procedure while at TCH, Child Life can provide resources to explain the procedure to him or her in a kid-friendly, non-scary way. Child Life can be contacted through the in-house phone system or through a nurse.
Meals and Snacks
Pack snacks! Meals are not offered for parents, since the child is the patient. If you would like to order a meal, you may do so with a credit card. If you are in need of a meal, and meet qualifications, a free meal may be provided to you through the Ronald McDonald House. However, while waiting with your child in the hospital, the day becomes lengthy. It is best to bring some snacks from home.
Finally, please keep in mind that the units at TCH are locked every day of the week for your child’s safety. Parents will be issued badges to gain access to the unit, as parents are never visitors but team members. However, visitors may only gain entrance to the unit if a parent is present and grants them access, or if the visitor is one of four people listed by a parent who is eligible to enter the unit without the parent. Visitors on this list who visit without a parent present are required to show identification before they are admitted. No one under the age of 18 can spend the night or visit unsupervised.
While each floor may have its own unique tips and tricks, I hope that these broader insights help anyone new to TCH. One final tip from my ten-year-old son: if you eat in the cafeteria, order the grilled cheese and french fries!
Aurora Dayne is the chairperson of the Family Advisory Council at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital where she works to foster communication and relationships between patients, their families and caregivers.