Visitors Information

Parents and carers are an important part of the ward team. You are therefore welcome to visit your child.  The care of each child is our main priority and it must be remembered that children who are ill or who are recovering from surgery or investigations need adequate rest.

Space is limited on the wards and therefore it is important to limit visitors for health and safety reasons. Therefore we have put in place the following arrangements.

Visiting Arrangements

  • We have a policy of open visiting for parents only.
  • After 8pm only parents are permitted to visit.
  • Parents are asked to keep other visitors to a minimum. Remember that it is important to maintain a quiet environment for your child. You are responsible for the safety and behaviour of any brothers or sisters coming to visit. Please arrange supervision of brothers and sisters at all times.
  • Restricting the number of visitors can help us to prevent the spread of infection. Only two visitors are permitted at your child’s bedside at any one time.
  • Visitors must use the hand gel provided when entering and leaving the ward.
  • Parents should advise other family members and friends about these visiting arrangements should they wish to visit your child.
  • Visitors may be asked to leave the ward when your child is undergoing clinical procedures.  This is to enable staff to focus on the needs of your child.
  • Some wards have slightly different visiting arrangements due to the nature of the care provided. Please check with nursing staff on your child’s ward.
  • There will be times during the year when further visiting restrictions will be in place throughout the hospital due to outbreaks of infectious illness. Please respect any visiting restrictions which may be in place while your child is in hospital.*
  • Please do not visit if you are feeling unwell yourself. If your child’s brothers and/or sisters are feeling unwell themselves or have been exposed to illness at school or nursery, please ensure that they do not visit your child in hospital.
  • Please note that certain circumstances may require visiting arrangements to be reassessed according to the needs of your child. These decisions will be discussed between staff and parents. Visitors are asked to respect these decisions.

Bringing Food into Hospital

Parents must label and date any foodstuffs brought in for their child and must keep them in the ward fridge where required. Any unlabelled foods will be disposed of.

Hot liquids

We would discourage parents from consuming hot drinks in any of the ward cubicles. If you buy a hot drink in the canteen, please remember to use a lid for your cup.

Staying overnight

We recognise that each child is an individual and that each family has different circumstances.

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 overnight.

Where the child’s parent is unable to stay, they may nominate one adult relative whom they wish to stay overnight with the child.  This adult relative must be at least 16 years old. Where possible, it should be the same adult relative who stays overnight throughout the child’s time in hospital.

Under no circumstances is an unaccompanied child allowed to stay overnight with a patient.

In addition, it is not permitted for children who are not patients to stay overnight except in very exceptional circumstances.  

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. Every effort will be made to ensure your stay in the ward is as comfortable as possible. If your child wakens during the night, you will be expected to attend to your child.  

The nurse-in-charge has the final say as to who can stay overnight on the ward. All parents and relatives are asked to respect the decisions made by nursing staff.

Postal Arrangements

Friends and relatives should ensure that they clearly address any mail they send to patients as follows:
Patient's full name
Ward Number
The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children
180 Falls Road,
BT12 6BE.

Outgoing mail from the wards is collected, but please ensure that you have added the correct postage stamps to your mail.