Nurse taking blood from boy

Feelings and fears

Feeling better about your time in hospital

Coming to hospital can feel a bit scary. At Evelina London, we’ll do our best to help you feel at home. 

Here are some top tips to help you feel good about your time in hospital.

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Missing home

You can bring some of your favourite things with you. Why not bring along:

  • your favourite toy and blanket
  • a book that makes you laugh
  • some photos of your family and friends
  • some pictures and cards.

You can stick photos and pictures around your bed. They can cheer you up when you’re feeling down. It’s great to have a favourite toy to cuddle up to at night.

Top tip:  share your favourite book with someone on your ward – they might like it too!

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Feeling bored

There’s lots to do at Evelina London. Read the thingto do section to find out about our cinema, play areas and lots more!

Here are some tips from our patients about having fun in hospital:

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Having fun – video transcript

There’s painting, there’s a balloon girl, there’s a colouring girl.

DVDs, Xbox, PlayStation.

You get to play in the playroom where I am now.

I got a mask from the play area and I cut it out and coloured it in.

I can connect to Wi-Fi here so sometimes I go on the internet, sometimes I download some new games and play with them.

Drawing, colouring, books, quite a lot of stuff to do.


Bring along your favourite books and games from home. You can play with visitors or new friends on your ward. 

Top tip: ask your nurse where the nearest play area is to your bed.  There are lots of new games to play there. 

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 Feeling lonely

You may miss your friends from home but at Evelina London, there are lots of other children just like you. Ask your nurse to help you meet other children your age.

Here are some tips from our patients on making friends in hospital:

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How to make friends – video transcript

It's easy to make friends, you can make friends here at Evelina because lots of different children come.

Downstairs at the school, I meet some friends there.

And this is how you make friends. You go into a play area or maybe go to see who's around and say, 'Hi, what's your name?' and start to play with them.

Every week when I come, lots of different children, I can see lots of different children, and then we start becoming friends when we play together.

You have to make sure that they want to play games with you. The second tip is you want to make them have the funnest time, and then the third tip is to say, 'Do you want to be friends?'


Your nurse can also tell you when Nala and Magee, our lovely, cuddly therapy dogs will be coming to your ward.

There are also lots of ways to keep in touch with friends from home. You could call, email or write them a note. Check visiting times with your nurse and let friends and family know when they can pop in to see you.

Top tip: ask the other kids on your ward to play a game together – a great way to get to know them better.

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 Talking to the doctors and nurses

All the doctors and nurses at Evelina London are specially trained to care for children just like you.

Never be afraid to ask or say that you don’t understand. Some medical words are tricky. The doctor or nurse can explain things in a different way, draw you a picture or show you some more information in a leaflet or on a computer.

Here's some advice from our patients on what to do if you don't understand something:

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What to do if you don't understand something – video transcript

If you don’t understand something the nurses say, ask your Mum or your Dad.

Sometimes I understand and sometimes I don’t.

Ask them if they could explain it slowly so that I could understand it.

I would ask the doctor sometimes.

If I don’t understand something I would ask my Mum or ask someone around me.

When I first came here they kept on saying cannulated and I didn’t know what it meant so I just asked one of the staff nurses and they told me what it meant.

Ask your parent or carer to keep a list of questions that you want to ask next time the doctor comes round. You could also ask the play specialist to show you what will happen when you have a test or scan.

Top tip: keep a notepad and pen handy. Jot down your questions or draw a picture, so that you can show the doctor.

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Nervous about treatment

If you’re afraid of needles, worried about having a scan or scared of taking medicine, let your doctor or nurse know. Lots of children, and grown-ups, feel just like you.

Play specialist and patient

Our play specialists are great at helping you to understand what will happen. They can also think of lots of fun things to do to help take your mind off things.

If you’re worried about taking your medicine, have a chat with your nurse or pharmacist. They will tell you if you can eat or drink with your medicine. They could even get you a glass of your favourite drink to take the taste away.

Top tip: have your favourite book handy to help take your mind off things.

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Struggling to sleep

Things at hospital may be a bit different to home. Getting into a bedtime routine can help you to sleep better.

Try to get ready for bed at the same time each evening. Have a wash, change into your pyjamas, brush your teeth and settle down with a good book. Try not to watch TV or computer games just before bedtime – they can keep your brain busy and stop you sleeping.

Top tip: bring your favourite toy or teddy to cuddle up to at bedtime.

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 It all feels strange

 Hospital can feel a bit different to home – strange noises and smells, different food and unfamiliar faces. It’s very normal to find hospital a bit strange and to feel scared or upset.

Here are some of our patients with tips to stop you feeling sad in hospital:

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What to do if you feel sad in hospital – video transcript

If I feel upset or sad I would talk to one of the staff nurses because they can always cheer me up with something.

So the first option I would go to is a play specialist.

Well the play specialists they make you feel happy.

You have to tell them what’s wrong, then they can fix your problem and everything will be fine and you can get back to smiling.

Try talking to your parents or carers about how you feel when they visit.  You can also talk to your nurse or doctor. We may be able to help you meet other children like you to talk to about how you feel. Our play specialists could come to visit you and help you with how you feel.

You can also bring some of your favourite things in from home, like:

  • a blanket or toy that smells of home
  • an MP3 player with your favourite songs on
  • a book that makes you smile
  • a few of your favourite snacks.

Top tip: bring in a few pictures that you and your friends have painted.  They will remind you of home and make you smile when you look at them.

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 The super tip

Here's Luca with his super top tip for making you feel better about being in hospital:

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The SUPER tip – video transcript

Just be cool and stay very calm in hospital and you will actually be able to go to the play room whenever you want.

And plus you can go to like this fun school, some people might say its lame because they’ve never been to a proper school here but I would say nonsense, I’ll come and show you, its super fun.

You do a bit of learning first but after a while you get to play for ever.

You can play with water, you can play with sand, you can play with Lego, you can play with Lego Duplo, you can play with anything you imagine.

©  Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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