Before You Arrive

Preparing for your child's hospital stay can be heart-wrenching. We understand. We can't make it stress-free. But we can make it a little easier.

The caring starts before you leave home, with clear information, online registration and resources for your whole family.

Questions or concerns?  We're here for you at every step.

Be sure to bring:

  • Your child's insurance or Medicaid card.

  • Your child's immunization record.

  • A favorite toy, book, game or other familiar object.

  • A toothbrush, toothpaste and comb.

  • A pen or pencil and paper for taking notes or writing letters.

  • All the medicines, vitamins or herbal supplements your child has been taking in their original containers. This will help us make sure your child gets the right medicine and dosage at the right times. In most cases, you will need to take the medicines back home after we check it. For safety reasons, we can't use them at the hospital. We'll provide all the medicine your child needs.

Make sure you label all belongings with your child's name. While we take care to protect personal belongings, we cannot accept responsibility for lost items.

Cell phones, tablets and laptops are welcome in most units but are not allowed in the Behavioral Health unit for the safety of all patients. Internet access is provided free of charge.

Leave these at home:

  • Personal pajamas. Your child will be given comfortable hospital pajamas to wear.

  • Hair dryers, radios, clocks or other appliances. If you have any doubt about an item, please ask a nurse to check it, for all our patients' safety.

  • Large amounts of cash or valuable items.

  • Weapons of any kind, including registered firearms and pocketknives. Please lock your weapon in your vehicle, or call Security at (614) 722-2130. We will store your weapon and return it to you when you leave.

If you have questions about insurance or Medicaid coverage and paying your bill, come to the Patient Access Department near the Information Desk in the main lobby of the hospital between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call (614) 722-2055 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

We accept most health insurance, Medicaid and HealthyStart, Franklin County’s no-cost health insurance plan for children under the age of 19. We will gladly bill for you, and we'll be happy to help you with coverage questions and financial issues. We can also help you apply for BCMH (Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps), Medicaid and other financial assistance. Give us a call to arrange a payment plan as soon as possible. Find out more. 

If your child needs health insurance and you can't afford it, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through HealthyStart. It's for Ohio children up to age 19, and covers most health care needs, including:

  • General health care
  • Immunizations and other preventive care
  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Hospital stays

You can find out more and apply online. If you need help, come to the Patient Access Department between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call (614) 722-2055 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Patient Access Department is in the main lobby of the hospital just past the Information Desk.

We can help you maximize your health insurance coverage before your arrival at the hospital by resolving insurance issues ahead of time. You can receive a price quote for any service within three days of your request.

If you need financial support such as assistance with health insurance, signing up for Medicaid or paying for prescriptions, there are many family support services and programs to help.

Having a parent or family member nearby is a great comfort to a child. Most units provide a cot or fold-out chair in each room for sleeping.

Check with nursing staff on your child's floor. Some units, such as Intensive Care, cannot accommodate overnight guests. A few sleeping rooms are available near the Intensive Care units.

For safety and security, we ask you not to sleep in community areas, such as lobbies or hallways. Linens and shower facilities are available for your use as well. In order to help us provide care, we ask that you be awake and dressed by 8 a.m.

The cafeteria will give you a free beverage each morning if you are wearing your parent badge.

Click here to learn about additional accommodations. 

Transportation for Your Child: If your child needs transportation from your hometown hospital, we will coordinate it with the hospital. Social work, case management and discharge planning services at Nationwide Children's will also coordinate your child's return to your hometown hospital or to your home. (Check with your insurance company or Medicaid to see whether transportation is covered and what you need to do.)

Welcome Center Services: If you are traveling from at least two hours away, call 1 (800) 792-8401, extension 59866, Monday through Friday, to find out about our services for out-of-town families, such as shelter, financial resources and concierge services. Find out more.

International Services: If you're traveling from outside the United States, you are not alone. Families come from around the world to get care at Nationwide Children's, and we provide a wealth of services to help and welcome you. Find out more

Visits and calls from family and friends are welcome and encouraged. For your child's safety, you'll be asked to create a Guest Code and Care Code when your child is admitted.

Share them with friends and family as you wish. Visitors must provide the correct Guest Code to gain access to your child’s unit.

Callers who wish to speak in detail about your child's condition will be required to provide the Care Code.

Besides access to high-quality patient care and respectful, courteous and timely treatment, your child has the right to:

  • Be identified correctly and called by name.
  • Know the names and roles of those who care for him or her.
  • Be as free from pain as possible.
  • Cry and make noise in response to discomfort, free of restraint unless necessary for safety.
  • A clean and safe environment.
  • Uninterrupted sleep, quiet time, play time, school work time, and the comfort of family whenever possible.
  • Have a procedure schedule that prevents the need for long periods without food or drink.

As parents or guardians, you have the right to:

  • Make choices about your child's care.
  • Privacy and confidentiality about your child's illness.
  • An interpreter if needed to overcome language barriers.
  • Access to pastoral or spiritual care.
  • Have expectations and complaints heard and promptly resolved.

You're responsible for:

  • Wearing Nationwide Children’s Hospital identification at all times.
  • Giving complete information about your child's health and family history.
  • Following your child's treatment plan and keeping the health care team informed about pain or any changes in your child's condition.
  • Asking questions until you understand your child's condition or care.
  • Your child's well-being if you refuse treatment for your child.
  • Following all rules and being respectful of staff and other patients.