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Questions Pediatric Patients' Families Ask

►How much therapy is provided for my child?
►Where are my child's therapies conducted?
►May we visit during our child's therapy?
►Who are the primary contact persons during our child’s stay?
►In what other ways are families involved in their child's treatment?
►Are children allowed time with their family away from the hospital?
►When are visitors allowed to spend time with my child?
►Where can visitors park?
►What activities are available when pediatric patients are not in treatment sessions?
►What clothing or personal items should we bring for our child's stay at Mary Free Bed?
►Are rooming in and/or housing options available at Mary Free Bed?
►Are telephones and television available at Mary Free Bed?
►Is there Internet access/e-mail access for patients and their families?
►Is a cafeteria available?
►May we bring in food for our child or ourselves?
►Is smoking allowed at Mary Free Bed?
►What happens at discharge from Mary Free Bed?

How much therapy is provided for my child?

Your child’s rehabilitation needs are unique. Therefore, an individualized therapy plan is developed for each child admitted to Mary Free Bed. Therapy at Mary Free Bed involves many components beyond the traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapies available in most hospitals. Rehabilitation nursing, therapeutic recreation, counseling and school are a few of the many services available. Therapies are scheduled seven days per week according to your child’s individual needs. [Back to top]

Where are my child's therapies conducted?

Therapies take place in your child’s hospital room, private treatment rooms, in social areas, in large group gyms, outside on hospital grounds or in the community. In choosing optimal treatment sites, staff continuously consider your child’s physical and emotional needs. Regardless of the site, your child will always be well supervised. [Back to top]

May we visit during our child's therapy?

Yes!! You are encouraged to talk with your child’s therapists within the first few days to discuss your plans for involvement in your child’s therapy. This will enable the treatment team to plan for your involvement and accommodate your participation. Your involvement in therapy may change as your child’s or family’s needs change.

In general, we welcome and encourage all parents to attend therapy at least weekly. Visits to therapy are required when preparing for day or overnight passes and prior to discharge. At times, the therapist may advise against having a parent observe treatment because of how this may affect the child’s performance or because of space or testing procedures. The therapist will let you know if this is the case. Therapists do value your input and will be pleased to talk with you regarding your child’s therapy goals and progress. [Back to top]

Who are the primary contact persons during our child’s stay?

Your social worker is your primary contact person and will maintain regular contact with you throughout your child’s stay. Please feel free to contact your social worker as needed for support, problem-solving, information, or any concerns you may have at 616.242.0425. If you have questions regarding your child’s nursing care, please contact your child’s nurse, the Pediatric Patient Care Director 616.242.0321. Either are available on the 3-east nursing unit or by calling 616.242.0418. [Back to top]

In what other ways are families involved in their child's treatment?

The treatment team welcomes your family's participation throughout your child’s stay. 

  • Nursing assessment – A nurse will meet with you and your child to complete the nursing admission assessment soon after your arrival to the hospital. Your participation in this process is very important to us since this will enable us to incorporate your child and family’s individual needs into our nursing care plan.
  • Contact with your social worker – Whenever possible, your child’s social worker will also meet with you on the day of admission to talk with you about your child’s individual interests and needs and to address initial questions you may have about what to expect in rehabilitation. The social worker can assist in arranging meetings with your child’s physician, provide counseling and information regarding your child’s injury or illness and the rehabilitation process, and will coordinate plans for discharge from the hospital.
  • Parent-team conferences – You are welcome to attend regular conferences with your child’s physician and other team members. Your social worker will notify you of the specific dates.

[Back to top]

Are children allowed time with their family away from the hospital?

In most cases, spending time at home or in the community is very therapeutic and helps children and families prepare for discharge. Day and evening passes, for community activities or home visits, will be allowed for therapeutic purposes and may be granted to assess problem-solving needed prior to discharge. Specific goals will be developed for the child’s pass, and parents will be required to first participate in therapies and talk with nursing staff to complete necessary training and instruction. The social worker will assist you in planning for these. [Back to top]

When are visitors allowed to spend time with my child?

Mary Free Bed welcomes family involvement in each child’s rehabilitation program. Parents are free to be with your child whenever you wish. Siblings may visit their brother or sister if accompanied and supervised by an adult. For parents not staying the night, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. are appropriate times to spend with your child. If you are with your child from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., you may be asked to assist with bedtime care, and a care plan will be developed between you and your child’s primary nurse. Visits from friends and other relatives are welcome during your child’s stay. Visitors are encouraged to visit between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This allows your child to concentrate on therapies and to have rest time during the day. Extended visiting hours may be available on weekends. Please inform friends and relatives of your child’s therapy schedule. Even though your child enjoys visitors, therapy comes first. [Back to top]

Where can visitors park?

Parking is available in the ramp at 350 Lafayette or at the meters along Lafayette Street. There is limited handicapped parking available in Mary Free Bed’s main circle drive with additional designated spaces in the ramp. Please respect the handicapped parking signs due to strict enforcement by the Senior Volunteer Neighborhood Service Program. We suggest that you use the 2nd level of the parking ramp which opens up onto the skywalk and provides you easy access to the inpatient areas. Security is available to escort you to your car if desired. [Back to top]

What activities are available when pediatric patients are not in treatment sessions?

Individual and group activities on the grounds and in the community are planned daily and listed on a calendar distributed to patients weekly. Visitors may use social areas on 3rd floor, on the main floor, and on Mary Free Bed’s beautiful grounds. A child life specialist is available on the nursing unit to help children and teens adjust to the hospital environment through a variety of special activities designed to promote a positive self concept and sense of control throughout the many changes associated with illness, injury and rehabilitation. There is a nice variety of recreational materials available including: toys, games, air hockey,movies, video games, arts, crafts and hobby projects. [Back to top]

What clothing or personal items should we bring for our child's stay at Mary Free Bed?

Comfortable, loose fitting clothing is best to permit freedom of movement during therapy activities. Please label your child’s clothing and other personal items with your child’s name. Please provide a laundry bag or basket for your child’s soiled clothing. Laundry facilities are available at no charge on the 3rd floor to wash your child’s clothing. Parents are expected to take care of the child’s personal laundry (clothing). Hospital towels and linens will be laundered through the hospital’s laundry service. [Back to top]

Are rooming in and/or housing options available at Mary Free Bed?

One parent may stay overnight at your child’s bedside if you wish. Bedding and a lounge chair will be provided if available. In order to provide appropriate care for your child, the nurse may need to be in and out of the room throughout the night. Their activities may awaken you or your child. Please speak to your child’s nurse if you would prefer to provide certain aspects of your child’s care during the night.

Many families prefer to stay at the Western Michigan Ronald MacDonald House which can more comfortably accommodate parents and siblings, as well. It is located at 1323 Cedar Street in Grand Rapids with shuttle service to and from Mary Free Bed. The admissions coordinator or social worker can assist you in making lodging arrangements and can answer questions regarding the Ronald MacDonald house accommodations. [Back to top]

Are telephones and television available at Mary Free Bed?

Telephones and a television are available in each patient room at no charge. Long distance calls are your responsibility. When away from the hospi, parents may call the nursing unit at 616.242.0418 at anytime to check on their child. Please leave personal radios, stereos and other electronic equipment home to avoid it becoming broken or lost. [Back to top]

Is there Internet access/e-mail access for patients and their families?

There are 3 computers on the 3rd floor that are available to patients and family members to use for Internet access (e-mail, information searches, updating care pages, etc.). [Back to top]

Is a cafeteria available?

You may use the Mercy Health Saint Mary's Hospital cafeteria which is located just beyond the double doors on the first floor past Mary Free Bed’s center stairwell/elevator. Snacks and beverage vending machines are available in the small lounge on the first floor across from the main reception desk. [Back to top]

May we bring in food for our child or ourselves?

Please note that health laws do not permit homemade foods to be brought into the hospital for patient consumption. You may, however, bring in food prepared by a reputable, licensed restaurant or caterer, or packaged food purchased in a store. We are not permitted to refrigerate leftover patient food so if you do choose to bring in a meal from a restaurant for your child please keep this in mind. If your child has special dietary needs or concerns please discuss them with our staff so we can work together to determine the best way to meet these needs. Cafeteria passes are available to patients as an occasional alternative to meal trays in patient rooms. For more information about how to substitute a cafeteria pass for a meal tray, please ask your child’s nurse or speak to your child’s dietitian or nutrition assistant. [Back to top]

Is smoking allowed at Mary Free Bed?

Smoking is not allowed anywhere in Mary Free Bed Hospital or on the grounds. [Back to top]

What happens at discharge from Mary Free Bed?

Your child will be discharged home when the intensity of inpatient services is no longer needed. The treatment team will assist you in arranging for continued outpatient therapies, and in planning for return to school, home modifications and other community resources. After discharge, follow up visits at Mary Free Bed will provide you with ongoing advice and assistance as long as needed. [Back to top]

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