Squirrel Ward

Squirrel Ward is for babies, children and young people having general surgery. We treat congential (present at birth) conditions as well as conditions of the gastrosintestinal system, diagphragm and abdominal wall.

The surgery carried out ranges from short stay procedures to complex bowel operation.

Squirrel Ward has 12 beds including an area with four beds for patients who need extra care (High Dependency). 

Location

Squirrel Ward Nurses’ station telephone number: 020 7829 8818

Staff on the ward

Squirrel Ward is mainly run by our team of nurses, who work closely with the doctors to help you get better. Other staff who work on the ward include healthcare assistants, a school teacher and a play specialist.

The following members of staff will be available to help you during your stay on the ward:

  • Matron: Carly Hadfield
  • Ward Manager: Fiona Rundle
  • Housekeeper: Marion Johnson and Beata Murias
  • Play Specialist: TBC

Conditions we treat

Some of the urology conditions we treat on Squirrel Ward include, gastroschisis, exomphalos major and minor, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), tracheo-oesophageal fistula (TOF) and oesophageal Aatresia (OA)malrotation, appendecitis and neuroblastoma.

Ward Information

Privacy and dignity

We do everything we can to protect the privacy and dignity of your child at all times during their stay at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Your child will be allocated a bed space according to how their physical, psychological and social needs are best met while taking into consideration the needs of other children and young people on the ward at that time.

Please tell us if your child has a preference for being with other children of their own age or gender and we will try to meet this request where possible. Please note that there are some circumstances where requests cannot be met, for instance, in high dependency or intensive care areas. Your child’s safety will be our utmost priority at all times.

As part of our progress towards protecting your child’s dignity, we have introduced a new type of theatre gown. This provides unrestricted access for our nurses and doctors while keeping your child covered up and comfortable at all times.

Security and fire

For security reasons, the doors to Squirrel Ward are kept locked. Please ring the bell and when asked, state who you are and the name of the child you have come to visit.

All members of staff must wear an identity badge at all times. If someone not wearing an identity badge approaches you or your child at any time, please check with a member of staff. If you are at all worried, please call security on extension 5999.

Our security guards are on duty in the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days week. They are here to protect all our staff, patients and visitors and do regular patrols for all the buildings. Remember if you see anything out of the ordinary, ask a member of staff to contact security. Try not to bring valuable items to the hospital, as we cannot accept responsibility for the loss of or damage to any personal belongings.

All parts of the hospital site are protected by a very sensitive fire alarm system. If you are on the ward when the fire alarm sounds continuously, please remain calm and follow the instructions from the nurse in charge. If you are elsewhere in the hospital, please remain where you are and follow the instructions from a member of staff. Do not return to the ward until the area is declared safe by the hospital fire team.

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on GOSH property, which includes inside any of the buildings or areas nearby including entrances. Please do not smoke in our main entrance or near hospital buildings, as we will ask you to move elsewhere.

Visiting a patient at GOSH

We know that having visitors can make things seem more ‘normal’ for our patients. However, we have to have a balance between people visiting and our staff being able to care for our patients.

Please note that some wards, particularly intensive care units and wards where children have immune problems, have stricter guidelines than others so if you are unsure, please ask to speak to the nurse in charge.

Who can visit?

One parent or carer is welcome to stay with their child during an admission. The other parent or carer can visit at anytime but will not be able to stay overnight on the ward. Grandparents and other friends and relatives are also welcome to visit but preferably between 10am and 7.30pm.

A patient’s brothers and sisters can visit too, but again only between 10am and 7.30pm. There are toys and games in the ward playroom to keep them occupied. Please remember that you are responsible for their behaviour at all times in the hospital as our staff cannot supervise siblings.

Some wards restrict the numbers of other children (not brothers or sisters) visiting, so please check before you come to GOSH. Children and young people can also keep in touch with friends through the activities centre and hospital school. Sometimes we can help by providing a video conference.

Please note that one parent has to be present while other people are visiting or they have to give written permission for visitors while they are not there. If there is any confusion about who can visit a child, we will always give priority to people with ‘parental responsibility’ for the patient.

Our patients’ safety is our utmost concern and if a parent is not present and they have not given permission for visitors, we can and will refuse entry to the ward.

When can I visit?

Some wards close during ‘ward rounds’, where each child’s progress and future plans are discussed. The nurse in charge will be able to give you a rough idea of when these happen and for how long they last. Wards also have ‘quiet periods’ when visiting is restricted, which enables our patients to have an afternoon rest without interruption.

How many people can visit?

Space is quite limited on most of our wards, so we ask that a maximum of three people (including the parent) visit a child at one time. If more than three people want to visit, please take it in turns to visit the ward. Other visitors can get a drink or something to eat in one of our eating-places while they wait.

What can I bring?

You are welcome to bring presents for our patients but please be aware of some restrictions.

  • Latex (stretchy rubber) balloons are not allowed, as some of our patients have life threatening latex allergy. Foil balloons do not cause these problems so you are welcome to bring these.
  • Flowers - water in the vase can develop a bacterium that can cause infection in children.
  • Some materials on certain wards ie fluffy/fleece blankets. Please check with the nurse.
  • Please check with the nurse before you bring in food, such as chocolates and sweets, as some of our patients are on restricted diets.
  • When you are visiting, please keep the area around the child’s bed tidy so that our nurses can reach the bed easily and quickly.

Please note that the hospital cannot accept responsibility for any loss of or damage to personal property.

Finding the ward

Please ask the child’s parents for the name of the ward. Our reception staff can tell you where the child is staying but will ask you for proof of identity. Volunteers near the main reception desk can escort you to the ward or give you directions.

Occasionally, we have to move children from one ward to another. This happens most often at weekends, when the number of patients is reduced so two or more wards might combine to provide a safe and effective service. Other occasions when we might move a child are when he or she has an infection or is at risk of catching an infection. In these circumstances, we might move them to a single cubicle or, on rare occasions when more than one patient has an infection, close the ward to all visitors.

Infection control

Please do not visit if you have a cold, cough or an upset stomach, or think you have recently been in contact with someone who has. You should wait until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours before you visit. Other infectious diseases including chicken pox and measles could be particularly dangerous for some of our patients so please do not visit if you have been in contact with them recently.

When you visit, please wash your hands thoroughly before you enter the ward and use the alcohol gel provided at each ward door. When you leave the patient, please wash your hands again and use alcohol gel. Every member of staff is reminded to wash their hands before visiting a child, so please ask us.

Will you give me information about the patient’s progress?

We will only give this information to the child’s parents, unless they give us permission to tell anyone else. If family and friends want to receive regular updates on a child’s progress, we suggest parents tell one person who is then responsible for telling everyone else. This is often easier to manage than making lots of phone calls every time a child’s condition changes.

Important information

GOSH is a smoke-free zone, which means that you cannot smoke anywhere inside hospital property and adjacent areas, such as entrances to hospital buildings.

You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital, but only within designated ‘mobile phone friendly zones’. Using your mobile elsewhere could cause interference with our medical equipment.

We will not tolerate any kind of inappropriate or threatening behaviour – verbal, physical or psychological – and we have a policy to ensure that this is dealt with appropriately. We can and will remove people from GOSH in these circumstances.

If you have any questions about visiting, please telephone the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals) Office before you visit on 020 7829 7862.

Protected Meal Times – GOSH Principle

Infants, children and young people will not be unnecessarily interrupted with either non-essential clinical or non-clinical activities during the advertised ward mealtimes. The protected time will be an hour at both lunch and dinner time. Also, they will not be unnecessarily interrupted when they are eating their meals or bottle/breastfeeding outside of these times where possible. Please see the posters on the ward for these times or ask a member of staff.

If your child wants a meal outside of these times, we have a selection of snacks or we can arrange for snacks to come from the hospital kitchen. Please speak with our housekeeper for this service.

A selection of cereals and toast-making facilities are available from the Parents’ Kitchen for the parents.

If you find that breakfast stock, plates, bowls or cutlery are running low, please inform a member of staff as soon as possible.

Cooked breakfasts are not available on the ward but can be purchased from The Lagoon restaurant located on Level 2 of the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building.

Facilities

You are a valued member of your child‘s healthcare team and we encourage you to take part in his or her care as much as possible while in hospital.

Mobile phones can be used in the cubicle, the parents’ room and the corridor outside the ward. Using them elsewhere can interfere with our medical equipment, and can also be disruptive to other families. You can use your mobile phone around the hospital but only in designated mobile-friendly zones.

Squirrel ward has a well-equipped playroom and a play specialist during the week who organises activities. The play specialist can provide age appropriate play opportunities and can help to prepare your child for the procedures that he or she will undergo in hospital.

More information

For more information about facilities available for parents, family members, visitors and patients in the hospital, including the Chapel and multi-faith room, hospital school, activity centre and information on where you can eat or find facilities such as launderettes, please visit our Facilities A-Z page.