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"To all the fabulous ladies on Ward 11 - Thank you for helping us through this week.  You've been really kind and a great support.  Much appreciated.  Thank you!"  James's Mum

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Jargon buster


Operation to remove tonsils (glands in the throat which fight germs) due to recurrent sore throats or blocking of the airway causing severe snoring at night. Find out more about tonsil surgery at ENT UK.

View the full jargon buster

Ear Nose & Throat Service (ENT)

Pre-assessment for children

Contact: (0191) 213 7011 - Michele Kindness, Hospital Play Specialist or Sharon Bradley, Paediatric Nurse Practitioner

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

Going into hospital can potentially be very frightening for children and so this special pre-assessment clinic run by a paediatric nurse practitioner called Sharon and a hospital play specialist called Michele is available to help prepare your child for their operation.

The nurse practitioner will assess your child’s health and take a past medical history to ensure your child is as fit as possible for their surgery and anaesthetic.

We can help your child to be prepared in a way they can understand through seeing and playing with hospital equipment, learning through play.

As a parent you will be able to gather information about your child’s operation so you can discuss and prepare your child at home ready for admission.

Pre-assessment will allow your child the opportunity to express feelings, anxieties and fears reducing unhelpful misconceptions about hospitals.  Fear of hospitals and procedures often comes from fear of the unknown so the more information you know the less frightening the experience will be, and therefore less traumatic for your child,

Visiting the ward before being admitted will help children to return happier and more confident.

How will your child be prepared ?Show [+]Hide [-]

Medical Play - with hands on experience children will understand through playing, seeing and trying for themselves. We use both real and toy medical equipment.

Photograph books - These are books that have been made about specific operations carried out on our ward. They allow children to see for themselves in a clear sequence of events through photographs and simple text.

Calico dolls - Calico dolls can be used to demonstrate, and act out procedures. Children can communicate their feelings through the doll and promote further play opportunities and discussions.

Projective play - Allows children to play out their experiences and knowledge of hospitals. They can communicate through these sets allowing us an understanding of what they know.

How you can prepare your child at homeShow [+]Hide [-]

The best way to prepared you child for their hospital admission is by talking to them about it and providing them with the correct information.  The hospital play specialist will help you in giving you and your child the information at a level of understanding for their age and stage of development.

Try not to show your anxieties to your child, they may pick up on this and feel frightened.

Always tell your child the truth.  Try not to lie by saying for example it will not hurt when it might.

Listen to your child to see if they are understanding what is going to happen, or if they have any wrong ideas or fantasies about hospitals, some children have very active imaginations, or have heard tales in school, even watching hospital TV programmes could provoke many fears.

Playing with hospital play sets and reading books about going into hospital are also good for preparing yourselves.

What happens at Pre-Assessment ?Show [+]Hide [-]

First you will meet Michele or Kerry the Play Specialists.  They will have a chat with you and your child about what will happen when you come back the next time for the operation. They have special photograph books to look at and lots of hospital toys and play sets.  If you or your child are a bit worried about anything they will talk to you and try to reassure you.

  • The play specialist will weigh your child to see how heavy you are.
  • Your child will get measured to see how tall they are.
  • Your child will have thier blood pressure taken, this doesn’t hurt, the band just squeezes the arm.

You will then meet Sharon the Nurse Specialist who will talk to you and listen to your child's heart with a stethoscope, to check your child is fit and healthy for the operation.

Your child can play with the hospital play sets and maybe dress up like the doctors and nurses.

Before going home you can have a look around the ward to see where your child might stay and meet some of the nurses.

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