Information for the public

What happens if my child has to stay in hospital?

What happens if my child has to stay in hospital?

In hospital, your child may be given some or all of these things to help them get better:

  • a suction tube put into their nose, mouth or throat for a few seconds to suck out blockages and help them to feed and breathe more easily

  • extra oxygen using a face mask, tube or head box (this is a small plastic box placed over the head if they're too small to wear a mask or tube) if they can't take enough in from the air

  • a special face mask or tube to help push oxygen into their lungs using air pressure

  • a feeding tube put into their stomach through either their nose or mouth to give milk feeds and/or medicines.

Your child may also need a drip to make sure they're getting enough fluid.

Some children may also need to have a test called capillary blood gas testing. This is where blood is taken with a pinprick (much like a heel prick test) to see how much of the oxygen they are breathing in is getting into their blood.

When will my child be able to come home from hospital?

Your child will need to stay in hospital until the healthcare team are sure that they aren't going to get worse again, can take in enough feeds so they won't be dehydrated and are breathing well enough on their own.

They may also want to make sure that:

  • you aren't worried about taking your child home in case they get worse

  • you are close enough to a doctor or healthcare centre to get help quickly.

  • you know the signs to look for that mean they are getting worse ('red flag' signs).

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