Preparing your child for hospital stay

Staying in hospital can be a stressful time for children and their families. We do everything possible to provide a comfortable environment for you and your child.

If your child is scheduled to stay in the hospital you will receive an admission letter from the hospital outlining where you are to go and what time.

Please take special note whether your child is allowed to eat or drink prior to arrival.

Below is a list of things you'll need to bring with you and what amenities are available for your convenience.  More information is available in the parent's information booklet as well as the play specialists guide, 'How to make a hospital visit easker for you child or young person"


Overnight stay

As parents, you are the most familiar, trusted people in your child's life. The more involved you can be in the care of your child, the more secure your child will feel with the hospital routines and procedures. Depending on the child's age, whenever possible take responsibility for routines such as bathing, feeding, dressing, and settling to sleep. The nurses will be happy to discuss any special instructions with you. 

We provide a bed in the room for the caregiver of every child. Each room is equipped with it's own ensuite, TV and telephone that family can use. We also provide meals for one caregiver free of charge.

Whare Rapuora offers accommodation to all cultures for family who need to stay. Your nurse and the Cultural Resource Unit can organise this. Payment is by koha. For bookings phone the Middlemore Hospital operator on 09-276 0000.  Information and booking facilities for relatives accommodation can be discussed with the Charge Nurse/Midwife to see if it is possible.

What to bring?

Bring pyjamas​​, comfortable clothing, a favourite toy, game or book (toys, books, games, TV and DVDs are provided by the hospital).


Preparation for surgery

Should your child require surgery your child's nurse will advise you on how the health care team can assist you prepare your child for surgery. Each child's needs will differ and the hospital staff will work with you to help both you and your child understand what will happen and what you can do to help your child manage events. 


Play and recreation programmes

Play and recreation is central to every child's sense of well-being and development. Because play and learning are normal activities for children, we know that it is important that this can continue during their hospital stay.

Hospital Play Specialists provide the play and recreation programme in the playroom or at bedside, to meet the emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs of hospitalised children. A wide range of activities including play, arts  and crafts, games and stories are available. Through selected activities such as healthcare play, children can gain understanding of their illness and treatments and develop skills to manage the hospitalisation.

The playroom is a nil by mouth (non eating and drinking) area and a non-treatment area. This provides a developmentally safe area for children to be in. Parents and family members are welcome to join in activities in the playroom or you may use this time to take a break.  

Playroom Hours:

  • Monday - Friday 9am - 3pm All children - but programme emphasis is on under eight year olds.
  • Monday - Friday 3pm - 4pm-All children - but programme emphasis is on adolescents and young people. If younger children wish to use the playroom at this time, we ask that an adult stays with them.
  • Siblings are welcome in the playroom at any time. See the Play Specialist about your visitors’ children going to the playroom. This can be by arrangement only. 

School programme 

School is an important part of the life of a child. The hospital school recognises this and addresses the special learning needs of the hospitalised school age child.   The classroom and the principal’s office is situated on the ground floor of Kidz  First™ in the main corridor. Teachers are available for long-term school age patients (primary and secondary) admitted to hospital. The school is staffed by qualified teachers who will provide continuity to your child's schooling with high interest activities including computer programmes, faxing letters to their class, exploring the internet, cooking, art and individualised maths, reading and language programmes.

Secondary students will continue in their chosen subject areas as appropriate.The school is a registered site for the sitting of external school exams.  If your child is unable to return to school in the week following discharge from hospital, please ask your child's hospital teacher for information on the home-to-school support programme. Your child's regular school can be contacted if necessary. 


Hospital parking

Parking is limited on the site however the parking sites outside the Kidz First™ entrance is specially provided for parents. You would need to display a parking permit to use this carpark or risk your car being towed.

These permits are only issued to parents/caregivers of patients who are in Kidz First. However, you will not be guaranteed a place if parking spaces have all been taken.

There is paid parking available around the hospital.  More information available for hospital car parks.