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Before Your Visit

Before Your Visit icon

Thank you for choosing Cook Children's. A visit or stay in the hospital can be stressful for patients and their families. To help ease your anxiety, we've put together some helpful information and resources to make your arrival at Cook Children's go smoothly.

Paperwork

Contact your managed care provider

If you have questions about your insurance coverage, co-payments or deductibles, contact your insurance provider.

Call your doctor's office if you have questions about your procedure or your arrival time.

Complete all forms

Before your visit, please complete all forms that may have been given to you by your doctor's office. You may also print many of the forms below, fill them out, and bring them with you.

Bring the following information to your child's appointment:

  • Your photo identification and insurance card(s)
  • Paperwork for referrals, authorizations and doctor's orders

You may be contacted by a patient registration representative regarding benefit information for your service or if we need to validate and collect further information.

Forms to print, complete, and bring with you

Pre-registration

You may register any time prior to your appointment day. There may be additional paperwork to complete when you arrive for your appointment, so make sure to arrive early. Planning your route, knowing where your appointment is located, and where to park, will save you time.

Most Cook Children's locations offer online pre-registration:

Please check-in at Patient Registration on the day of your appointment to complete the registration process and receive directions to your appointment location. We recommend that you arrive at least 15 minutes early to ensure that you have time to complete all the necessary steps.

Preparing your child for a hospital visit or stay

Health care situations, including hospitalization and medical procedures, can be stressful for children of all ages. Preparing your child ahead of time might reduce his anxiety, as well as help her cope.

Providing your child with honest, accurate information will help ease her fears and fantasies about what will happen. Talk to your child about the upcoming visit. Give your child a chance to tell you how she's feeling and to ask questions. Your child may be worrying about something that will not happen. Being honest with your child will help her trust you and the people she will meet at the doctor's office or medical center.

The more a child knows about what to expect during the medical visit ahead of time, the more comfortable she will be.

Tips to help prepare your child for a visit to the medical center

  • If your child is under the age of 5, you should talk to him a day or two before the experience. Older children need more time to get information and ask questions (e.g., a few days to a week).
  • You may be tempted to tell your child things that are not true. If something will hurt, say so.
  • Be honest. If you do not know the answer to your child's questions, tell your child that you do not know, but that you will find out.
  • Use simple words that your child will understand.
  • Encourage your child to discuss feelings and ask questions about the upcoming experience with you, but be careful not to force a discussion if your child is not ready.

Tips to help prepare your child for hospital stay

If your child is being admitted to the medical center, the following tips may be helpful in addition to those above.

  • Emphasize that the hospital stay is temporary.
  • Reassure your child that you will visit often and will stay overnight, if that is the case.
  • Pack together for the stay and include the things your child wants to have at Cook Children's. For example, your child may be able to wear their own pajamas.
  • Point out similarities between Cook Children's and home, such as regular meals, chances to play and having one's own bed.
  • Include your entire family in one of your pre-hospital talks.
  • Borrow a library book that describes a hospital stay and read it with your child.
  • Check into tours or preparation programs that we may provide. If your child is having surgery, please visit with your doctor and nurse before the surgery. The Child Life staff is available to help answer any questions you may have about helping your child prepare for hospitalization or surgery. A Child Life specialist can explain what will happen, and why, in terms your child will understand. This can be good for you and your child, as well as for brothers and sisters.

Hospitalization through a child's eyes

Younger than age 3

Your child's greatest concern is being away from you. Being with your child as much as possible during their stay will make your child feel more secure. Younger children, especially those under age 3, often think going to the hospital is a punishment for misbehavior. Explain that this is not the case. Encourage your child to express fears and concerns. Talk to your child in a way that he can understand about why the hospital stay is necessary.

Ages 4 to 6

Children in this age group fear damage to their bodies. Be careful when explaining what will take place. Avoid phrases that may have different meanings to a child. For example, your child may connect being put to sleep (when you explain surgical anesthesia) with a pet and think that he or she will die. Instead, say, "The doctors will help you take a nap for a few hours." Or, any another phrase they might better understand. When talking about surgery say, "Make an opening," instead of cut.

Ages 6 to 12

Children older than 6 years will worry about losing control and damage to their bodies. Your child may also worry about doing or saying embarrassing things while under anesthesia. Be open. Don't deny that there will be pain after an operation, if this is the case. Explain that although it will hurt for a while, they will be made to feel as comfortable as possible.

Teenagers

Teenagers are often reluctant to ask questions, leading you to believe that they understand more than they actually do. Encourage your teenager to ask the doctors and nurses questions about his or her condition. Include your child in discussions about the care plan for an increased feeling of control.

Guide: Preparing for Surgery

Our goal is to provide a family-centered environment of care by keeping you informed at each step in your child's care – from pre-operative evaluation through discharge. As you and your child prepare for surgery, please use the information below as your guide.
If you have any questions, please call us at 682-885-4022.
Surgery guide – Cook Children's Medical Center

Where to stay

If you're traveling far from home, you'll find a variety of accommodations near our main medical center campus in Fort Worth, Texas. If your child is staying at Cook Children's Northeast Hospital, you'll also find affordable accommodations. We've provided a link below to help you find a place to say that fits your needs and budget.

Find places to stay nearby