Approximately one percent of all infants born in the United States have
some form of congenital heart disease. Half of these children require
critical medical attention within their first year of life. A significant
factor contributing to their maximum recovery is strong family support.
We understand that parents are important members of their child's
health care team. Parents are encouraged to stay with their children whenever
possible during procedures and throughout hospitalization. Reassurance
and nurturing from the adults who know them best is an integral part of
healing and recovery in children.
The Children's Heart Center provides individualized care for each
family. Clinical nurse specialists and social workers are available from
the initial consultation to provide education, counseling and support
for patients, parents and siblings. A flexible visiting policy allows
nearly unlimited visiting hours for parents.
If you would like information about making an appointment, please click here.
The information below may help alleviate some of your questions or concerns.
Of course, you are welcome to contact us with questions at any time.
Preparing your child for hospitalization
Flexible visiting hours
For nursing mothers
Preparing Your Child for Hospitalization
Effective preparation for hospitalization can reduce the anxiety children
experience prior to surgery. Professionals at The Children's Heart
Center recommend that parents begin preparing their children for surgery
one day per every year of the child's life before hospitalization.
For example, if the child is 5 years old, parents can begin explanation
5 days in advance of the scheduled surgery. Simple, yet honest and accurate
answers to your child's questions will help him/her adopt a positive
attitude about the upcoming surgery. Preoperative videos and coloring
books are helpful tools for introducing hospitalization to young children
and are available upon request.
Child life specialists are important members of the health care team at
Children's Hospital of New Jersey. An extensive Child Life Program
offers youngsters developmentally appropriate play therapy, as well as
variety of stimulating games and activities that promote their continued
development during hospitalization.
Flexible Visiting Hours
Our flexible visiting policy allows virtually unlimited visitation for
parents. Immediately following surgery, visiting in the Cardiac Intensive
Care Unit is restricted to two people at a time at the bedside and may
include parents and grandparents. Siblings over 3 years old may be allowed
to visit depending upon the patient's condition and the visitor's
level of wellness and immunization status. Parents should consult the
nurse regarding sibling visitation.
For Nursing Mothers
An electric breast pump is available for use by mothers who cannot nurse
their infants during hospitalization. Breast milk is stored in the freezer
within the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Mothers should speak to their
child's nurse regarding the use of the pump and storage of breast milk.
Immediately following surgery children are brought directly to the Cardiac
Intensive Care Unit where they are under constant supervision by a team
of cardiac intensivists and highly skilled nurses experienced in the care
of children recovering from heart surgery. Because each child recovers
at his/her own pace, the length of stay in the Cardiac Intensive Care
Parents and significant others may visit approximately one hour after
surgery. In certain situations, it may be necessary to delay the visit
temporarily in order to perform a procedure that may be required for your
child or another child in the unit. The staff will notify you as soon
as it is possible to see your child.