The information and opinions on this blog come from parents, and the blog is not associated with Primary Children´s Medical Center or any other institution.


This site is specifically for parents of kids with clefts being treated at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I hope that there will be information that is helpful to all parents of kids with clefts. If you are just starting to learn about clefts, I would suggest starting with the "General Information" topic and going from there. To find information on a specific doctor or topic, click on one of the links on the right. You can also search the blog using the box below the topic list. If you have information or experiences to share, please leave comments or contact me to do a guest post at Thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tips for hospital stays

The following is a compilation of tips for preparing for your stay at PCMC. Obviously you don't need to use them all, but I tried to include all the tips I could find...

  • Bring a book or something you enjoy doing to keep yourself busy during and after the surgery.
  • There is wireless internet access, so if you have a laptop it is nice for keeping in contact and having a distraction.
  • If you don't have a laptop, there is a computer lab that you can go to. Ask the nurses for directions. The parent resource center, called the "Forever Young Zone" is on the 3rd floor.
  • There are showers, but you probably want to bring toiletries to use. There is a soap dispenser, but that is all that is provided.
  • Don't forget a toothbrush, face wash, hair ties, and extra contacts/glasses if you need them.
  • Bring your wallet! There is a hospitality cart that comes by in the morning from which you can pick 3 items, but otherwise you will need to buy food from the vending machines or the Rainbow Cafe on the first floor.
  • Bring a camera! You will want pictures.
  • Dress for comfort. You may want to avoid light colors in case your baby has a little residual blood that drains out.
  • Bring your own pillow and blanket; theirs aren't the most comfortable.
  • If you'll be there for more than a night or so, you may want to bring a foam pad, because the fold-out chair is not overly comfortable either.
  • Bring something familiar to comfort your child. Depending on their age you may want to bring a few toys or books or things to keep them entertained that they can still use with arm restraints on.
  • I believe you can check out movies, so ask the nurse. You may want to bring a couple of favorites from home.
  • Your child's diet will likely be restricted after surgery, and they may not like the hospital's selection, so you may want to bring some soft foods that they like from home.
  • Bring comfy pajamas (also, something you don't mind the nurses seeing you in in the middle of the night). You may also want slippers for when you have to hop out of bed to get a crying baby or run to the vending machine or shower. If your child is walking, bring no-slip socks or slippers for them, too.
  • Bring extra clothes to change into.
  • Bring your own bottles/nipples. They generally have Mead Johnson bottles and Pigeon nipples there if you need them, but some babies don't like new, hard nipples, particularly after surgery. And if you use a different bottle or nipple, they may not have it for you.
  • If you are using formula, bring some of your own, particularly if you use a unique or special brand.
  • If you are pumping (or breastfeeding), don't forget your pump and/or pump attachments to use with the hospital's pumps. There is a room on the 4th floor with 4 or 5 pump stations, but you need your own attachments, and it is also nice to just be able to pump in your baby's room. You may want to bring a nursing cover or blanket though, since nurses will be coming in and out.
  • You may also want a bottle brush, dish soap, and a dish towel to wash bottles and pumping equipment. There is a steam sterilizer in the 4th floor pumping area if you need to use it.
  • You may want to prepare by looking at some of the pictures of babies right after surgery (particularly for lip and nose repairs) so you get an idea of how things will be.
  • Have someone come to help you! Generally they only let one parent stay the night (though depending on which nurse you ask, they might make exceptions), but it is nice to have someone there to help tend and comfort your child, to go pick up any food, toiletries, or other items that you need, and just to provide some support and a listening ear. Take help when it's offered!
  • You don't need to bring diapers and wipes; they give you a little box of wipes and a pack of Huggies after surgery.
  • Bring clothes for your child that button or zip in the front, since you probably won't want to have to pull anything over their heads. Also, you may want something without feet, since nurses will need access to monitors/IV's in their legs/feet.
  • Bring any medications that your child is taking, along with their prescriptions (the hospital may be able to administer some through the IV).
  • Ziploc baggies often come in handy for random things.
  • Babies often like batting around mylar balloons, and they can do it with arm restraints on. They are available in the gift shop on the first floor.
  • Ask for the child life specialist on your floor, who will have activities for children.
  • There is information for families of patients on the PCMC website, here.
If you'd like to see maps of the hospital floors, go here.
Do you have more suggestions? Please leave a comment!

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