Bear Ward cares for children with cardiac (heart) conditions. Some children stay here after surgery and others come for assessment and non-surgical management.
Bear Ward is on Level 6 of the new Morgan Stanley Clinical Building (MSCB), part of the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Bear Ward nurses' station 020 7829 8829.
For urgent admissions outside of office hours, please call the switchboard on 020 7405 9200 and ask for the doctor on call for Bear Ward.
If your child has any additional needs, please call in advance to let us know.
Who you will meet
Bear Ward is primarily run by our highly qualified nursing team, but also includes consultants, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants, play specialists, psychologists, dieticians and housekeeping staff.
- Matron: Carolyn Akyil
- Ward Manager: Lucy Panesar
- Play Specialist: Janet Holmes
- Play Worker: Kimberley Bonner
Conditions we treat
The special areas of expertise include the diagnosis and treatment of, cardiovascular disease, tracheal disorders, cardiothoracic surgery, pulmonary hypertension and post heart/lung transplant. Read more about the conditions we treat:
Staying with your child
Each single room in Bear Ward contains a sofa bed so one parent can stay with their child.
We understand that for parents who have travelled a long distance, both parents would like to stay at the hospital or nearby.
But the hospital can only guarantee accommodation for both parents when your child is either in Flamingo Ward or in a high dependency bed on Bear Ward.
Once your child leaves Flamingo Ward or a high dependency bed, the hospital can only guarantee accommodation for one person.
Privacy and dignity
We do everything we can to protect the privacy and dignity of your child at all times during their stay at 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
Bear Ward is a locked ward. To come in you will need to press the buzzer 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 of 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 – 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 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 any time but will not be able to stay overnight on the ward. Grandparents and other friends and relatives are also welcome to visit only between 08:30-20:00.
A patient’s brothers and sisters can visit too, but again only between 08.30 and 20.00. 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 videoconference.
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?
On most wards, visiting hours for friends and relatives other than the child’s parents are between 10am and 8pm. 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 a 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 can happen 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.
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.
If you are a parent or carer staying with your child and you become unwell during their stay we will ask you to leave the ward to go home to get better.
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.
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.
Can I telephone the patient or their parents?
Most beds in the hospital have a telephone by the bedside, so you can call directly. Please ask the child’s parents for the number, as our switchboard cannot put calls through to patients. We also ask that you do not call after 10pm as this could disturb our patients’ sleep.
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.
You are a valued member of your child's healthcare team and we encourage you to take part in their care as much as possible while in hospital.
Meals are not provided for parents, but food and drink can be bought from various places within the hospital and local area. You may want to bring in your own snacks and drinks. Parents are welcome to use the ward kitchen outside of patient mealtimes to prepare these.
You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital but only in designated mobile-friendly zones. Using your mobile elsewhere could interfere with our medical equipment. There is free wifi available for patients and their resident parents. Please contact the ward clerk when you arrive on Bear ward.