A Trip to the Hospital is Stressful Enough
Learn these tips before your first visit
Two years ago, my newborn son was diagnosed with severe hemophilia, a bleeding disorder. Since then we’ve made many planned and unplanned trips to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Through this experience, I’ve learned the ins and outs of navigating the hospital and if you’re headed there I hope to make your trip easier!
Before you go, know that the doctors, nurses and support staff are compassionate and knowledgeable and will always have a listening ear for your concerns and explain each step of the process.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility that promotes healing, rest, play, and happiness through its kid-friendly areas and bright natural light streaming through its floor to ceiling windows. I’ve rushed my son there with my nerves racing and I am always calmed and supported through their incredible team of professionals and warm atmosphere.
Whether you are coming in for a routine test, a meeting with a specialist, or an outpatient surgery, a trip to the hospital can certainly be an anxious time. As you prepare for your visit, here are few tips from a frequent visitor to help make your trip go smoothly!
5 Tips for Visiting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Parking is on the opposite side of Michigan street (north side), labelled Ramp 3. Follow the road in and take a parking ticket to go through the gate.
Parking is free when you have an appointment so take your ticket with you and it will be validated when you check in. Continue down the ramp and park closest to the blue elevators labeled ‘35’ in the middle of the parking garage on either Level P-3 or Level P-4. Ride the elevator to Level 3, Bridge to Hospital.
2. But First, Coffee!
Let’s face it: coffee is everything for us parents and we need to know where to find it! Starbucks is located just off the parking garage on Level 1, in the Food Court. Also located here is Smashburger, Zoup, and Qdoba. Across the pedestrian bridge in the main lobby is Ferris Coffee and Nut.
3. Checking In
Cross the pedestrian bridge over Michigan Street to head to the lobby. My son loves to run across the bridge and tell me about all the different vehicles that whizz by below! Veer to the left once you reach the hospital to find the front desk.
Here you’ll receive a photo name tag (have a picture ID ready) and your parking ticket will be validated. If you have any questions about where to go, they will be able to help.
Note that some testing and specialists are located before the pedestrian bridge and do not require you to check in at the front desk.
4. Child Life Specialists
I had no idea how much I needed these people until I spent time at the hospital! Child Life Specialists bring happiness and comfort to your child. They are experts in child development and helping children (and parents…) cope with stressful situations. They come equipped with toys, bubbles, music, iPads, and boundless energy!
5. Fun Areas to Play and Relax
In the waiting areas, there are enclosed playrooms with toys, books, and games for all age groups.
If your little ones need to burn off some steam, the main lobby is the place to go! There is a huge touch screen wall with interactive scenes such as under the ocean and a princess castle. On the floor around the wall are giant circles that change color as you jump on them.
The Sallie Bender Guild Gift Shop is located in the lobby as well and it has an great selection of toys and games to help your little one feel better.
In the spring and summer, just past the cafeteria area in the lobby you’ll find an outdoor courtyard with welcoming areas to sit and play.
Lastly, at the Balk Cafe there is an ice cream window which is my son’s favorite place to stop after an appointment!
With these tips, you’ll be able to navigate the hospital like a pro. If you’ve visited often and there is a tip I am missing, please comment below!