During Your Stay

Inside Our Inpatient Rooms

When your child is in the hospital you want to understand what is happening, who is caring for your child and what you can do to help. We know you have questions, and we know this can be a stressful time.

We want you to know how you can assist us in caring for your child. We are here to support you and your family and to answer any questions you may have. Just ask!

Your Child's Care: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help my child?

To provide the best treatment and care, your child's medical team collects all kinds of information from you and your child. Please share everything you can about your child with our staff and ask questions when you have them.

To keep your child safe, please follow these guidelines:

  • A patient identification band is put on your child’s wrist. It is important to keep this identification on your child. Let a member of your health care team know if it is removed or damaged.
  • Tell your doctors and nurses about any allergies your child has, or any previous bad reactions to medicines. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that your child is taking.
  • Please ask for permission from your nurse before letting your child leave the patient unit.
  • For your child’s protection, always make sure the crib sides and bed rails are pulled up all the way and locked in place.
  • During the night, your child will be awakened for temperature readings, medications and treatments. This is done to provide needed care.
  • Please check with the nurse before emptying the bedpan or before your child uses the bathroom. It is important to keep accurate records of your child’s drink and food intake, as well as output of urine and/or stool during your child’s stay.
  • At times, children will be taken to another area or room for care. If this is done, we try to contact you before it happens.
  • Please do not give your child medicine, including Tylenol or other over-the-counter medicines while he or she is in the hospital. If you forget and give your child medicine, please tell your nurse immediately.
  • We strive to understand and to take into account each patient’s and family’s concern and response to health care in the context of their cultural traditions and religious beliefs. If you have religious or cultural preferences, please share them with your care team. We will try to honor your preferences when possible.
Who are all these people?

Your child will receive care from many different people at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Depending on your child’s specific health condition, he or she may spend time with one or more of the following health care team members:

Doctors. Your primary care physician will see your child. Pediatric or surgical resident physicians training in specialized areas may also provide care. The residents assist your child's doctor.

If you have questions about your child’s condition, talk with:

  • Your child's doctor, who can give you the most complete information.
  • The resident physician working with your child can also share information.
  • Your child’s nurse can provide information about your child's condition, too.

Because this is a teaching hospital, you’ll meet medical students, residents and fellows. The best way for them to learn is by working at a hospital. Medical students, residents and fellows:

  • Work under the supervision of the attending physician.
  • Medical students are going to school to become doctors.
  • Residents and fellows have finished medical school and are already doctors, but they are interested in receiving further specialized training.

Nurses. Nurses and their assistants provide most of your child’s around-the-clock care. They also help ease your child’s fears of being in the hospital, being sick and being away from family.

The goal of nursing is to give your child the best care possible. We do this by having the nurses, physicians and other members of the health care team work directly with you. Advance practice nurses or nurse practitioners are nurses with extra education and licensure that allow them to work with physicians to coordinate and plan care for your child.


  • Give individualized care for your child.
  • Talk with you and your child.
  • Teach you how to meet your child's needs at the hospital and at home.

If your child needs special care after leaving the hospital, a nurse from the Clinical Services and Care Coordination Department will help you plan for:

  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Home infusion therapy
  • Other items

Patient Care Assistants (PCA). A patient care assistant (PCA) may work with your nurse to provide care. The PCA may assist your child’s nurse by:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Bathing your child
  • Performing finger sticks for lab tests
  • Providing other treatments

Therapists. While in the hospital, your child may work with therapists who specialize in different therapy, including:

  • Physical
  • Occupational
  • Recreational
  • Respiratory
  • Speech
  • Music
  • Massage

Our therapists also work with you to continue therapies at home.

Clinical Social Workers. A clinical social worker, with specialized training in pediatrics, can provide emotional support and other assistance to you and your family. A social worker works with your child's team of doctors and nurses to help you manage:

  • Stressful aspects of your child’s illness
  • Challenges of the hospital stay
  • Identification of needed services in your area once your child goes home
  • Other issues your family may face

You can ask a nurse to contact a social worker for you or you can request a social worker yourself by calling the Clinical Services and Care Coordination Department at (614) 722-6300.

Pharmacists. Pharmacists work with your child's doctors and nurses to make sure your child receives the most appropriate medicines. Pharmacists and Clinical Pharmacists:

  • Review all medication orders for your child
  • Talk with you and your child about complicated medicines

Chaplains. Spiritual Care provides you and your family with spiritual support. The Spiritual Care Department assists people of all faiths. Trained chaplains are available 24 hours a day. To reach a chaplain:

The Children’s Chapel is open to people of all faiths, cultures and ages. It is located on the second floor of the main hospital. A security escort is required after 8 p.m. Join us for one of our worship services:

  • Interfaith Worship – Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
  • Catholic Mass – Sunday and Wednesday at Noon

Child Life Specialists. Child Life Specialists address developmental needs of children and can assist children in coping with their health care needs. They support your child’s growth and development through:

  • Play activities
  • Events created just for your child
  • Activities to help your child prepare for a health care procedure

Volunteers. Volunteers wear blue jackets, shirts or vests and a name badge and they work throughout the hospital, including in the:

  • Emergency Department
  • Gift Shop
  • Information Desk
  • Patient units
  • Child Life program

School Teachers. If your child will be in the hospital longer than a week, ask your nurse to contact one of our teachers. If your child is school-age, the Columbus Public School system assigns a teacher to help with schoolwork. The teacher will:

  • Coordinate services with your child’s home school
  • Plan a program for your child’s learning needs

Early intervention and preschool teachers are available for children up to 5 years of age. These teachers help identify children:

  • With developmental disabilities or delays
  • Who may be at risk for delays.

Early intervention and preschool teachers initiate services to help meet your child’s developmental needs. They also can arrange for services in your home community. You can call the teachers at (614) 722-3635.

Clinical Dietitians. Clinical dietitians provide nutrition care based on your child's:

  • Age
  • Development-related needs
  • Medical-related needs

A diet technician may also provide technical support.

Lactation Specialists. The lactation program at Nationwide Children’s helps moms provide breast milk for their hospitalized infants. Hospital-grade electric breast pumps are available:

  • Throughout the hospital to keep moms comfortable
  • To help maintain milk supply if an infant is not able to breastfeed directly

To contact a lactation specialist, call (614) 722-5228.

Where can I find more information about my child's illness?

The library at Nationwide Children’s Hospital can help you find the latest information on pediatric health issues.

The library:

  • Is a branch of The Ohio State University’s Health Sciences Library.
  • Includes an area just for families called the Janet Orttung-Morrow MD Family Health Information Center (FHIC).
  • Offers a wide variety of child-related health information from books to magazines to videos.
  • Has staff and volunteers who will help you locate materials for you or your child.

Location: Second floor of the Education building

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday

For information, call (614) 722-3200.

What does isolation mean?

Children are placed in isolation for two reasons:

  • Their resistance to infection is low and they need extra protection.
  • They have a contagious illness and other people must be protected.

An isolation sign should not be cause for alarm. It is simply a measure to protect your child and others against the spread of infection. If your child is placed in isolation, please check with the nurse in charge of your child’s care for instructions.

How can I help with patient safety?

At Nationwide Children's Hospital we are committed to providing your child with quality health care in a safe manner. When your child is admitted, you will receive a guide to Patient Safety in the Health Care Setting. This document includes instructions about the vital role you play in ensuring your child’s safety while in the hospital.

The following information also will help to create a safe environment for your child:

Standard Precautions. Your child’s doctors and nurses must follow Standard Precautions. These measures are required at all hospitals by federal law. Standard Precautions are used to limit the risk of spreading infection and may involve the use of:

  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Goggles
  • Face shields
  • Gowns

Standard Precautions protect your child, doctors, nurses and therapists.

If you have questions about Standard Precautions or Infection Control, please call the Epidemiology Department at (614) 722-4990.

Hand washing. Proper hand hygiene is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and prevent infections. Hand hygiene involves:

  • Washing hands with soap and water
  • Decontaminating hands with a waterless alcohol-based hand rub

To prevent your child or you from getting unwanted germs, wash hands with soap and water or decontaminate your hands with a waterless alcohol-based hand rub every time you enter and leave the room.

Also wash your hands with soap and water during the following times:

  • Prior to eating.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After changing diapers.
  • After contact with body fluids like blood, urine or vomit.

To wash your hands properly:

  • Wet hands with water and then apply soap.
  • Rub hands vigorously together for at least 15 seconds covering all surfaces of hands, fingers, thumbs and under the nails.
  • Rinse well and then dry hands gently with a paper towel. Use the paper towel to turn off hand-controlled faucets to avoid getting germs back on your hands.

To decontaminate hands by using the waterless alcohol-based hand rub:

  • Apply the rub to palm of hand.
  • Rub hands together covering all surfaces of hands and fingers.
  • Rub until hands are dry.

All health care workers and physicians know they must perform proper hand hygiene:

  • Before and after touching a patient
  • After contact with items near the patient
  • Before putting gloves on for a sterile procedure
  • After removing gloves

We encourage you to remind health care workers to perform hand hygiene.

Patient and family identification bands. The patient identification band on your child's wrist helps provide positive identification of your child and ensures that quality care is safely administered.

  • Keep your child’s identification band on at all times.
  • Treatment cannot be given without this band in place.
  • The staff will check this band and replace it as necessary.

Parents also receive identification.

  • Identification bands indicate that you are a parent/legal guardian of the child and have the right to give consent for your child’s care.
  • Identification badges let our Security Staff know that you are authorized to be on the floor.
  • Badges should be displayed on the torso above the waist.

For the protection of our patients, callers from outside the hospital who wish to speak in detail about a patient’s condition must provide the patient’s care code.

Who can visit my child?

We consider families to be a part of the care team at Nationwide Children’s. Parents are encouraged to be with their child as much as can. We suggest visits from friends and other family members be brief. Talk with your child's nurse or doctor about how many visitors are allowed at once or for any other visitation issues.

We want to maintain the best patient care environment possible. To do this, Nationwide Children’s Hospital uses a visitation system for everyone visiting a patient.

  • Parents and visitors must wear identification badges.
  • Badges are given to parents in the Admitting Department, Emergency Department and Patient Placement Department.
  • Visitors can get a badge at the Information Desk in the Main Lobby.

Visitors can use our online map for up-to-date maps and directions. Visitors can also call our directional line at (614) 722-3000.

Hours: Normal visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., the main entrance to the hospital is locked. You can use the Emergency Department entrance, off of Children’s Drive, to enter the hospital during this time.

Restrictions. Young children cannot fight off germs as well as adults. To protect the health and safety of our patients the following people should not visit the hospital:

  • Children under the age of 12
  • Anyone who is feeling sick
  • Anyone exposed to contagious diseases

Please check with your child’s nurse for more specific guidelines about visitation on your child's specific unit. Special visitation requests often are granted. Talk with your nurse or doctor if you have any questions. 

Safety. The safety of our patients is always our top concern. We use a Code Policy to increase security.

  • When your child is admitted to Nationwide Children’s, you’ll be asked to create a Guest Code.
  • All visitors to the hospital must provide the correct Guest Code to gain access to your child’s unit.
  • Your child is also assigned a Care Code. Callers from outside the hospital who wish to speak in detail about a patient’s condition must provide the patient’s Care Code.
How do I call to check in on my child?

You may call at any time to talk to a nurse about your child’s care or condition. Just call the hospital operator at (614) 722-2000 or the Information Desk at (614) 722-2001.

Friends and family can also call these numbers to leave a message for you or your child.

For the protection of all patients, callers from outside the hospital who wish to speak in detail about a patient’s condition must provide the patient’s Care Code. 

These phone numbers also may be helpful:

What if I need additional help?

We strive to make your child’s and family’s stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital a comfortable one. Our aim is to provide the best care and comfort to you and your child. If you have questions, the following options are available:

Patient Family Communications Board. Some patient rooms have a communication board for you to leave messages for your child’s health care team. The board includes:

  • A space for the names of your child’s doctors and nurses on each shift.
  • An area for your comments and notes to assist in your child’s care.

Please feel free to ask your child's nurses and doctors questions at any time.

Patient/Family Liaison. Nationwide Children's offers Patient/Family Liaisons to provide you with additional assistance. Your liaison will:

  • Listen to your concerns
  • Help you with any questions or issues
  • Assist you with the many services offered
  • Refer you to other resources if needed

To contact the Patient/Family Liaisons, call (614) 722-6593.

Administrator On-Call. An Administrator On-Call is available at all times to handle issues when the Patient/Family Liaisons are unavailable or if a situation warrants their attention. To contact the Administrator On-Call, call the hospital operator at (614) 722-2000.

Chapel and Spiritual Care. Trained chaplains are available 24 hours a day to provide you and your family with spiritual support. Our chaplains provide assistance to people of all faiths. To reach a chaplain:

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chapel is open to people of all faiths, cultures and ages. A security escort will be required after 8 p.m.

Location: Second floor of the main hospital.

Services: Interfaith Worship – Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Catholic Mass – Sunday and Wednesday at Noon

Ethics Committee. If you are having difficulty deciding the best course of care for your child, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee can provide more input and help you discuss your choices. The Ethics Committee:

  • Is not a decision making group
  • Brings together many different types of caregivers
  • Helps staff and families look at all aspects of the decision at hand

To contact the Ethics Committee, ask your unit manager.

Concerns about your child’s care. If you or your family are concerned about patient care or safety at Nationwide Children's, we encourage you to contact the Patient Liaisons or the Administrator On-Call to request assistance. If your concerns cannot be resolved at these levels you should:

Food, Accommodations and Amenities: Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I park?

You can park in our visitor parking garage and in parking lots around the hospital.

Click here for detailed maps and directions.

Handicapped Parking. All of Nationwide Children’s parking lots offer handicapped parking. Those requiring handicapped parking for high-top vans are encouraged to speak with Patient Relations by calling (614) 722-6593 for more information.

Valet Parking. Valet parking is available for $5. The valet service is located outside the main hospital entrance, outside the Crossroads Entrance and outside the Outpatient Care Entrance. Valet is also available at the Livingston Ambulatory Center.

Parking Ticket System. There is a flat parking fee for most visitor parking. Tickets are issued at the entrances. As you are exiting the buildings, you have the option to pay your parking fee by using the various “pay-on-foot” stations around the buildings or you can pay from your vehicle as you exit.

If you have questions about parking, please contact Nationwide Children’s Security at (614) 722-2128.

Vehicle security. When you park your car:

  • Always lock your vehicle.
  • Do not leave cash or valuable items in view.
  • Lock valuables in the truck hide them from view or take them out of the vehicle.
  • At night, select the most well lit and most visible parking spaces.

Escorts. If you prefer, a security officer will take you to your vehicle or walk with you from the parking lots into the hospital. To arrange for an escort to your car:

  • Call (614) 722-2128.
  • Go to any of the main doors.
  • A security officer will meet you at the door.

To get an escort from the parking lot to the hospital:

  • Call (614) 722-2128 from your cell phone
  • Drive to the Emergency Department area and ask Security to meet you in your parking lot
Can I spend the night in my child's room? Where are nearby hotels?

Being in the hospital can be scary for a child. We want a parent or guardian to stay overnight in the patient's room whenever possible. Most units have a cot or fold-out chair for sleeping. The nursing staff on your child's floor can tell you what's available.

If your child is in Intensive Care, you cannot sleep in the room but you may be able to use one of the nearby sleeping rooms.

We can also help you find temporary housing and accommodations. 

When you sleep at the hospital:

  • Linens and showers are provided.
  • Please be awake and dressed by 8 a.m.
  • Show your parent badge in the cafeteria for a free beverage each morning.
  • For your safety and security, please do not sleep in lobbies or hallways.
We're hungry! Where can we eat?

We provide many meal options for your child and your family, including room service, a cafeteria, food court, two coffee shops and many nearby restaurant choices.

Learn more about dining options, including room service details and a list of restaurants.

For questions about dining options, call Nutrition Services 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at (614) 722-1517 or (614) 722-1521.

Cafeteria. The cafeteria offers a wide variety of food at all hours of the day. Menu items include:

  • Chef's Cuisine entree
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Grab and go items

Seating is provided in the spacious dining room and an outdoor courtyard, weather permitting.

Location: Lower level of the hospital.


Early Bird 12:30 – 4:30 a.m.
Breakfast 6 – 10 a.m.
Lunch 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dinner 4 – 8:30 p.m. (Monday – Friday)
4 – 7:30 p.m. (Saturday – Sunday & Holidays)

Vending. Vending areas are available 24 hours a day and offer drinks and food. Vending locations include:

  • First floor of the Outpatient Care Center near one of the ATM machines (behind Clementine’s Coffee) Tower 2 Lobby

Food Court.Our food court offers:

  • Salads
  • Wraps
  • Hot sandwiches
  • Beverages

A Subway is also located in this area.

Location: Lower level of the Education building

Hours: Breakfast: 6:30 – 10:00 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Closed Weekends & Holidays
Subway is open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

What's up with the healthy beverage policy?

To promote the health and well-being of our patients, families and staff, we do not sell or offer sugar-sweetened beverages that have no nutritional value. As one of the nation’s leading pediatric health care and research institutes, we are committed to addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity and creating and supporting a healthy work environment for employees.

The healthy beverage plan applies to all patients, families, visitors and staff.

These food service stations no longer offer sugar-sweetened beverages:

  • Cafeteria
  • Food court
  • Koko’s
  • Subway
  • Gift shops
  • Patient food service
  • Catering
  • On- and off-site vending machines
  • Jerzy’s

We have expanded the selection of healthy drinks to include:

  • Water
  • Milk
  • Pure fruit juices
  • Diet sodas

Sugar is still available to sweeten coffee. Employees, patients and families can bring their own sugar-sweetened beverages, but the hospital no longer provides or sells them, except for patients who meet certain criteria.

Regular Coke and Sprite are available for patients who need them. Your child's nurses and doctor will help you obtain these items.

How do I access the internet?

At Nationwide Children's we provide free guest wireless Internet access. You are welcome to surf the web according to the terms of our user agreement.

Learn more about our guest internet access.

Where do I go if I need cash?


There are two Huntington National Bank ATM machines and a change machine in the hospital. Non-Huntington customers will be charged a $1.50 fee for each cash withdrawal. The change machine will break $10 and $20 bills to $5 bills.

The machines locations are:

  • An ATM is in the Outpatient Care Center, next to Clementine's Coffee
  • A change machine is in the Outpatient Care Center lobby
  • An ATM is off the Main Lobby next to the Gift Shop

Use the hospital map to find each of these areas.

Stamp dispensing machines also are available next to the ATM machines.


The following banks are accessible from Nationwide Children's Hospital. Click the name to see directions, hours, contact info and more.

Huntington Bank
937 E Main St
Columbus, OH 43205
Description: ATM on location
Distance: 0.4 miles

Education First Credit Union
399 E Livingston Ave
Columbus, OH 43215
Distance: 0.5 miles

U.S. Bank
673 Mohawk St, Ste 201
Columbus OH 43206
Distance: 0.8 miles

Bank of America
212 E Main St
Columbus, OH 43215
Distance: 0.8 miles

CME Federal Credit Union
365 S 4th St
Columbus, OH 43215
Distance: 0.9 miles

...see all banks near Nationwide Children's Hospital

How do I use the phones?

Telephones are in each patient room for free local outgoing calls. To make local outgoing calls:

  • Dial “9.”
  • Then dial the number desired for local calls.

Visitors may dial directly into your room. Check with the Unit Coordinator or the Information Desk in the Main Lobby for your child’s phone number. Calls coming into the room will only be received between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Friends and family may leave a message with the Information Desk at (614) 722-2001 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Messages will be delivered to patient rooms.

Long-distance phone calls must be made through the operator. To make long-distance outgoing calls:

  • Dial “0-1-area code-number.”
  • The operator then will assist you in making your collect or calling card call.

Cell phones are allowed in certain areas. Please follow the posted guidelines or ask your nurse.

Pay phones are located near the elevators in the lobby areas on each floor.

Where can I buy a gift for my child?

If you are looking for something special for your child, visit one of our gift shops. Gift cards and a personal shopper service is also available through our gift shop.

Our greeting card service makes it easy for family and friends to express just how much they care and to brighten up your child's room, not to mention his or her spirits.

  • Cards will be printed once a day, Monday through Friday, at 9 a.m.
  • If the patient is discharged, please provide a forwarding address and we will mail the card to the recipient.
What is your smoking policy?

The entire Nationwide Children’s Hospital campus is smoke-free. 

The smoke free policy promotes good health and maintains a healthy environment. All visitors and employees are prohibited from smoking.

Who do I call for housekeeping issues?

If you have housekeeping concerns, call the Parent Hotline at (614) 722-3136 from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Your child's room is cleaned daily. You may be asked to leave the room when housekeeping staff is cleaning.

What activities are available for my child and family?

There are many things for your child, your family and friends to do while visiting Nationwide Children's and Columbus. Some options at the hospital include:

Library Cart. Each week, volunteers with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Pleasure Guild bring a library cart to the patient areas. Here's how the cart works:

  • Books and magazines for children of all ages are available.
  • You and your child may borrow materials from the cart for your enjoyment.
  • Books can be returned to the cart.
  • Books can be returned to designated drop boxes in the Tower Building lobbies and in the Main Lobby.
  • The drop boxes are blue with smiling faces painted on them.

Video Station. Want to watch a movie, listen to music or play a video game? During your stay, you and your child can check out items including:

  • VHS tapes
  • DVDs
  • CD music
  • Video games
  • You may borrow two videos at a time, free of charge.
  • There is a drop box next to the Information Desk in the Main Lobby for video returns.

Location: In the main lobby next to the elevators.

Hours: Varied.

When volunteers are available, the video station will open and an overhead announcement will be made. If the video station is not open, you can leave a message at (614) 722-4972. When the station opens, a volunteer will return your call.

Playrooms and Teen Activity Room. Kids need to play, even if they are not well. Playrooms are located throughout the hospital. Each playroom:

  • Has toys and games for your child.
  • Offers organized activities each week.
  • Posts a schedule of events in every unit and on Nationwide Children’s music and movie channels.

Please watch your child while in the playrooms and remember to return all toys so other children may enjoy them.

An activity room just for teens is located on the fifth floor. Teens need to request a card key to access the teen activity room. If your child has special needs or is not permitted to go to the playroom, ask your nurse to help you contact a child life specialist for an individual visit.

Rooftop Outdoor Area. An outdoor rooftop area complete with a tugboat is available for you and your child. To use the rooftop area:

  • Talk with your doctor to find out if your child may go to this area .
  • A member of the nursing or child life staff will assist you.
  • You or another adult whom you know must watch your child at all times when in the rooftop outdoor area.

Location: On the third floor near the Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy gymnasium.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Clubhouse for Siblings. Brothers and sisters can make your child feel at ease, but they need support during this time too. The Clubhouse helps make the hospital experience easier for siblings by providing a place where kids ages 3 to 11 can:

  • Address their concerns
  • Play together
  • Enjoy fun activities

Location: The Clubhouse is on the first floor by the Main Lobby

Hours: 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays

Out & About in Columbus. For family members or siblings seeking activities away from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, there are many places to visit in Columbus. Check out what's nearby.

?No habla ingles?

El hospital proporciona intérpretes médicos para los niños, padres o tutores con déficit auditivo o con límite de habilidad en el idioma Inglés. Por favor comunique al personal médico que necesita un intérprete para comunicarse y ellos le ayudarán.

Para la ayuda financiera, illame por favor (614) 722-2055.