You’re all set for food at the hospital, there are plenty of cafes, chain restaurants (Subway, Boost, McDonalds etc) and a supermarket on the ground floor. If you are staying in the ward food is ordered a day in advance and there will be a form in your room. There is a parent’s kitchen in each ward with bread and spreads to make sandwiches or toast, tea and coffee making facilities and a vending machine. There is also a fridge and microwave to store and prepare food brought from home. All food in the fridge must be clearly labelled or it will be thrown out.
2. Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Well, actually you can. There is a pharmacy, supermarket and multiple gift shops in the hospital on the ground floor so you can get your hands on pretty much whatever you and the kids need. If you are in the ward and need to leave the room, there are volunteers on hand to keep kids company while parents pop out.
3. Royal Park Playground
RCH is right next door to one of the best playgrounds in Melbourne! Royal Park Nature Play is a huge accessible playground that is easily accessed from the hospital. There are paths that are perfect for wheels, water play for kids of all ages, swings (including an accessible one), loads of climbing equipment and a big hill to climb and roll down. There is even a BBQ there if you want to cook lunch. To get to the park from the hospital you turn right once you enter the main doors and walk to the end of the corridor (past the supermarket and cafes). It’s a great spot to hang out between appointments or to have a break from the ward if you are allowed out.
Firstly, yes, there is free WiFi at the hospital😀
These three apps, designed by the RCH are free and may help improve your time at the hospital. Okee is all about medical imaging so is helpful for preparing kids before they have scans or tests. Ed the Curious is about getting used to the hospital and Create is an art based app that takes elements from the hospital and surrounds to work with.
Everyone loves the meerkats (yes, the hospital is home to five actual, real life Meerkats!). Their enclosure is on the ground floor in the specialist clinics. You’ll need to go right to the back. They are on display during clinic hours.
6. Starlight Room and Captains
The Starlight room is located on the ground floor and has all sorts of entertainment for kids including craft, video games, toys, books and a movie theatre. Everyone is welcome.
The Starlight captains roam the hospital cheering up as many people as they can with singing, jokes, stories and often little gifts like stickers or tattoos. If you are staying in the ward you can call and request a visit if the room is in need of some extra cheer.
(I’ve linked up a video below of the B Positive Channel touring the Starlight Room).
7. Concession Parking
If you have a concession card you are entitled to discounted parking ($10 flat rate for the day). Just take your parking ticket and concession card to security near the ER. If you are a regular visitor you may be eligible for a parking discount as well, ask at the hospital if it applies to you.
8. The Fish are Back!
When the hospital opened one of its most celebrated features was an amazing two storey fish tank with gorgeous tropical fish. Often people will comment on it when you say you are going to be at the hospital. Sadly it was drained and the fish were on holidays at the aquarium while it was being repaired. It was a looooooong break but they have now returned! The tank can be seen from the ground and lower ground levels.
9. B Positive Channel
This is a channel that you can access through any tvs at RCH or on the RCH YouTube channel. It’s aimed at kids, with Rocco the puppet and friendly hosts showing you around the hospital and introducing you to different people who work there. It makes everything seem a bit less scary when explained by puppet. Rav got his blood taken by one of the doctors from the videos and it was like he’d met a celebrity! 😄
10. Play Therapy
There are lots of way the play therapists help patients at RCH but our main contact has been through the mock MRI. When children are 5 or older they are able to attempt MRI scans awake but first try a mock MRI to make sure they are prepared and will be able to cope with the real thing. Play therapists do a wonderful job of helping kids prepare. If there is a procedure your child is worried about talk to the hospital about working with a play therapist.
I hope this helps to make your time at the Royal Children’s Hospital a little easier. x