Who you will meet
Possum Ward is mainly run by our team of nurses, who work closely with the doctors to care for your child. Other staff who work on the ward include discharge coordinator, physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, healthcare assistants, a play specialist, dietitians and housekeeping staff.
The following member of staff will be available to help you during your stay on the ward:
- Matron: Claire Waller
Protected meal times
It is the GOSH principle that children and young people will not be interrupted with either non-essential clinical or non-clinical activities during the advertised ward mealtimes – we call this ‘protected time’. This is usually an hour at both lunch and dinner time. Outside of mealtime, we will also try not to interrupt when children and young people are eating or feeding. Please see the posters on the ward for these times or ask a member of staff. Of course, please ask for help in a clinical emergency.
Privacy and dignity
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 Possum 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.
Please be considerate when using your mobile phone, switching it off during consultations and keeping it on silent when in a clinical area. 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.
Respect for others
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.
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. If you have any questions about visiting, please telephone the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals) Office before you visit on 020 7829 7862.
Who can visit?
Each single room has space for one parent to stay on a sofa bed. The other parent 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 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 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 patients but please be aware of some restrictions.
- Latex (stretchy rubber) balloons are not allowed, as some 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 such as 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.
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 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, 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.
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.
Possum Ward has a play room shared with Chameleon Ward. The play room will continue to be supervised by our play specialist during office hours but you will be responsible for your child and their brothers and sisters at other times.
For mothers who wish to breastfeed, we provide a dedicated room. We also provide the equipment to 'express' breast milk so your child can be fed through a nasogastric tube, if necessary.