Resources and services for families
Seeing your child ill, injured, in pain or simply fearful in a new and strange environment can be difficult for you and your family. We understand that this may be a new environment for you. We expect you to have questions. Use these resources to help you during this time.
At AboutKidsHealth.ca, you will find information on hundreds of topics in English and several other languages. It is a website you can trust for information about your child’s illness. You will find information about conditions and diseases, child development, wellness, learning and education, and more. The site also has games and activities for children.
At the Family Centre, on the Main Floor in Room M200, across from Shoppers Drug Mart, you can borrow books and DVDs on medical topics and child raising, find information about community resources and support groups, use computers to check email and do information searches, and access fax, printing and photocopy services. A telephone is available for use in a private area. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 416-813-5819.
If you have difficult decisions to make, or are unsure what the right thing is to do for your child, you may talk to your child’s doctor, nurse or social worker. Bioethicists can also help you with difficult ethical decisions and are available to speak with you confidentially. You can call bioethics at 416-813-5000.
Chaplains of different faiths offer emotional and spiritual support to you and your family while your child is in the hospital. There is a chapel on the 1st floor of the Atrium, a meditation room on the 2nd floor of the Atrium and a prayer room on the 1st floor of the Black Wing, just above Shoppers Drug Mart. Please call 416-813-6620 for more information.
Office of Patient and Family Experience
At SickKids, we believe the best care occurs when we can build positive relationships with patients and families. We care about your SickKids experience and want to know if you have comments or concerns about the treatment of your child.
If it is a question, complaint, comment or compliment, you should first share it with your care team or unit manager. If this is not possible, you can contact the Office of Patient and Family Experience. No matter who you contact, you will be treated seriously and with respect.
The service is located on the Main Floor in Room M223, near Shoppers Drug Mart. It is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also leave a confidential message at 416-813-6181.
Child Life Specialists use play and their knowledge of child development to help your child understand and cope with hospitalization and treatments. Specialists are assigned to each in-patient and most outpatient units. Please contact your unit clerk to identify the specialist available to you and your child during your stay.
Family Legal Health Program
The Family Legal Health Program is a free legal service for low-income families whose children receive treatment at SickKids. The program helps with non-medical issues that can impact your child’s health or your family’s ability to care for your child. Ask a staff member to refer you to the program if you need assistance.
SickKids has a number of devices and services that the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing can use during their stay, including:
- TTY (teletypewriter) units to plug into phones
- Telephone amplifiers
- Pocket talkers to amplify conversations and consultations
- Visual noise alerts including Call Alert and Alertmaster systems
- American Sign Language interpreters
To use any of these hearing devices or services, please ask your unit clerk. A TTY set can also be used at the Information Desk on the Main Floor of the Atrium.
Please let a member of the health-care team know if you need an interpreter for medical appointments or for discussions with your child’s health-care team. If you cannot make your appointment, please be sure to cancel it 24 hours in advance so that your interpreter can also be cancelled.
Social workers provide a full range of services to patients and families, including helping you cope with and manage with your child’s diagnosis/treatment, connecting you with community agencies and support groups, finding programs that may help with financial difficulties created by your child’s illness or stay in hospital, and much more. Social Work can be contacted through your health-care team or by calling ext. 206805 or 416-813-6805 from outside the hospital. Social workers are available weekdays.
Speak with your nurse, social worker or other members of the health-care team about how you are feeling. They may be able to help you understand your responses and identify effective coping strategies. Let your nurse or social worker know if you would like to be directed to one of the many support groups available for parents. Groups include parent coffee hours on in-patient units, online groups and community-based programs.
Telemedicine is a service that allows SickKids staff to connect to children and their families, via video, from other hospitals and many children’s mental health and community agencies throughout Ontario. If you live outside of Toronto, you may be able to use this service to connect to your SickKids health-care team. Ask your doctor if this suitable for your child.
Free passes to use fitness and recreation facilities at a nearby YMCA are available through Child and Family Relations. Call 416-813-6181.
Volunteers provide a number of services that support patients and families at SickKids.
Volunteer Resources 416-813-5284
Volunteers provide parent respite, visit with patients and assist families in the clinics. You will recognize SickKids volunteers by their blue uniform vest and volunteer photo ID badge.
Women’s Auxiliary 416-813-5782
Complements SickKids staff by providing an extra dimension of support for patients and families. Its services include the Play Park.