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Preparing for Your Visit

What to bring   

image of clown with little kid dressed as clownThe following information will assist you in preparing for your visit to CHEO.

Health coverage information 

Be sure to bring your:

  • provincial health coverage:
    • OHIP card for Ontario residents
    • RAMQ card for Quebec residents
  • CHEO hospital card (if you have visited CHEO before)
  • private health insurance information (if you have this coverage)

A parent or legal guardian will have to sign the necessary Ministry of Health consent forms for children and youth under 16 years of age.

Health information

Please bring:

  • all your medications and supplements (The health-care team will review them and some may be used during your stay. We will also want to know the time of the last dose.)
  • immunization records
  • details about any known allergies to food or drugs

For you

Depending on the length of stay in hospital, you may want to bring:

  • spending money for meals and parking
  • clothes, pyjamas and slippers
  • any special toys or family photos
  • toiletries

Everything should be marked with your name.

CHEO mom and blogger, Chloe Girvan, has also written a helpful article on what parents should bring with them for a hospital stay. We encourage you to review it.

Important to know


Some of our patients and staff have severe allergies, so please remember:

  • Do not bring nuts, nut products or latex products (like balloons).
  • Avoid using scented products like perfume, cologne, aftershave, body sprays or hair care products.
  • Please shop wisely at CHEO, as you would elsewhere.

No smoking on our property

Ontario’s hospitals are smoke-free zones — including hospital grounds. Provincial Tobacco Control Officers patrol hospital grounds to ensure the province’s no-smoking laws are being followed. Anyone caught smoking on hospital property will be ticketed and could be fined up to $5,000. To smoke, you must leave hospital property by crossing Ring Road toward Smyth Road. We also ask that you respect others and don’t litter.

Parking lots are on CHEO property, therefore smoking in personal vehicles parked on our lots is also prohibited.

Using e-cigarettes and vapes are not permitted anywhere on hospital property.

If you are ready to quit smoking, the City of Ottawa offers resources to help! 

Prevent the spread of infections

We want to make sure our patients get well quickly. Please help us prevent the spread of infections by:

  • staying home if you are sick (a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, a new rash or are feeling ill);
  • keeping children and youth home if they are sick (see the previous bullet point) or have been in contact with a communicable disease, such as measles or chicken pox;
  • cleaning your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel (some isolation rooms have special instructions to follow), but if you can see dirt or if there is mucous on your hands, you must wash with soap and water;
  • handling your own child only, and not sharing your child's toys or belongings with other children.

While at CHEO

Where will my child or teen be staying? 

There are eight inpatient units at CHEO, including Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care.

Sometimes a child may be moved within a unit, or moved to a different one, usually because of space pressures. You will be notified in advance if this is to happen. 

There are no private rooms, however there are single rooms used for isolation purposes. If your child or youth does not need to be isolated, they will share a room with one or two other children or youth.

Who will be caring for my child or teen? 

A whole team of professionals will look after your child or teen when you come to CHEO. Here are some of the people you might meet.

Healthcare teams in the hospital are grouped as Patient Service Units (PSUs). These groupings contain inpatient and outpatient teams so that no matter where your child is in terms of their recovery, he/she will remain under the same PSU according to their diagnosis. This organization makes it easier to have continuity in your child's care. The PSU healthcare teams are made up of many different professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and others. Which team members are involved will depend on your child's or family's needs.

How do I inquire about my child or teenager?

As a parent and valued member of your child's care team, you may call the hospital any time for updates. The unit where your child is staying can be reached through the hospital switchboard at 613-737-7600, or directly through the unit's phone number.
Shift change is a busy time and outside calls will not be taken between 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 7:30-8:30 p.m. We're happy to take your calls at any time, with the exceptions of these indicated times. Information is always readily available through your child's nurse, who can also help you reach any other of the health-care team members caring for your child.

Updates and information will only be supplied to the parent or legal guardian of a child. We would therefore appreciate your asking other family members or friends to check with you, and not the unit, for information. Respecting the privacy of other children, youth and their families is extremely important.

What about visiting?

Please see our Visitors Guidelines pamphlet (199KB, PDF).

Parents are always welcome 24 hours a day. One parent may stay overnight in the child’s room in a special armchair which converts into a bed. We encourage other family members, including siblings and grandparents, to visit during visiting hours from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. daily, including week-ends and statutory holidays. 

No more than 2 people at any time can visit a child or youth (includes at bedside and in playroom) at any one time. Other family members or visiting friends are invited to wait in the coffee shop, cafeteria or main lobby and to take turns visiting. All visitors, except parents, must sign in at the unit desk before going to a room for a visit. 

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) have special visiting arrangements which the nursing staff of these units will be pleased to explain.

What activities are available?

Child Life Specialists

The Child Life Specialists help children to learn, to play and do creative projects while in hospital. Child Life Specialists are also trained in medical play, which assists children in understanding their illness, and any anxious feelings they may have relating to it.

Activity/Play Rooms

There are Activity Rooms for children on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors where Child Life Specialists and special Volunteers are available to provide play and learning materials and supervise activities. The hours of the activity rooms are posted on each Activity Room's door.


Teachers affiliated with the Ottawa school system are available in the hospital, providing continued schooling to children and youth here for longer stays. Your health-care team will make these arrangements with you and your child or teen.

Take Action


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Improving access to coordinated, consistent, high-quality health care for children, youth and their families. 

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