Parent Staying Overnight

We recognise that each child is an individual and that each family has different circumstances. We encourage one parent to stay with their child although we do understand that, due to other family commitments, this is not always possible.

The ideal person to stay overnight with a child is his/her parent or guardian. Only one parent should stay with the child. Where there are exceptional family circumstances, the nursing staff will make a decision (at their own discretion) about who can stay. When allocating sleeping facilities, priority is given to parents of very ill children and mothers who are breastfeeding or pregnant. In most wards you will be offered a campbed or a comfortable chair for staying overnight. There are shower/bathroom facilities for parents in most wards.

Where the child’s parent is unable to stay, they may nominate one adult relative whom they wish to stay overnight with the child.  Where possible, it should be the same adult relative who stays overnight throughout the child’s time in hospital. An unaccompanied child (up to the age of 16) cannot stay overnight with a patient as the first priority of nursing staff is the sick children in their care.

Nursing staff will need to ask you questions about who is permitted to visit your child and who has been identified as being the person to stay overnight. They will record which parents are staying overnight on the ward and will record any decisions that have had to be made in relation to who is staying overnight.

Nursing staff will explain to you the facilities and sleeping arrangements for staying overnight. They will make every effort to ensure your stay in the ward is as comfortable as possible. If your child is restless during the night, you may be wakened to provide reassurance.

Sleeping arrangements

In keeping with safety procedures, parents must not place an infant (aged one year or less) on the same mattress or bed on which he or she as a parent is sleeping or resting.

In the majority of circumstances where a child is older than one year, parents will be actively discouraged from getting into the same bed as their child.

However, each child’s normal sleeping practices will be taken into consideration and, where a parent normally sleeps with the child; it may be comforting for a distressed or ill child to have a parent stay in the bed until the child falls asleep. This arrangement will be agreed by nursing staff who will ensure the child and parent are both safe by, for example, putting cot sides on the bed.