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St. Luke's Children's Hospital Visitor Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in supporting the families of St. Luke's Children's Hospital. While your visit can bring a welcome distraction for our young patients, please remember that our children are ill and our top priority is to provide them with the best possible care in a comfortable and safe environment.

Please read through these guidelines and the application before moving forward with a visit. Applications must be received four weeks prior to the intended visit. All requests are subject to the approval of the Child Life Department, Volunteer Services, Public Relations and/or the St. Luke's Foundation.

Before Your Visit

  • If you're interested in coming as an "activity visitor" or "community celebrity" you'll find all the information you need below. These are the only ways community members are allowed access to our patients.
  • You won't be able to give donations directly to our patients. Our staff will be happy to accept donations on your behalf.
  • All visitors must pass a health screening before visiting.
  • Edible treats and latex balloons are not allowed.
  • In support of our patients, religious and political references are not allowed in visitors' dress, activities, or donated items.
  • Our hospital has 52 beds, and our patients range in age from newborn to 17 years old. Plan your visit, activity, or donation accordingly.
  • We schedule activity visits between April and November. During these months we can usually accommodate visits Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • A wide variety of factors influence the number of children eligible on any given day to participate. We can't guarantee how many children will be able to join in. A good general estimate is between 0 and 10 children.

Activity Visitors

  • Up to two visitors at a time are welcome to conduct an activity in the hospital. Visitors must be 14 or older; teenaged visitors must have an adult with them.
  • Your activity can be anything entertaining, engaging, or unique, and must be appropriate for many ages and physically and emotionally safe for our patients. Some ideas may include:
    • hands-on art projects
    • fancy nail polishing
    • a skit or musical performance (up to 10 visitors may be allowed for small performances, and must conform to the above requirements)
  • We can't allow storybook reading or other activities that aren't interactive. 
  • Requests for room-to-room visits aren't allowed.
  • Please develop your own activity and present that idea in the application. You'll need to provide all your own materials.
  • We hold all activities in the playroom or pediatric waiting area. Performances are limited to 30 minutes and hands-on activities will be scheduled for an hour.
  • We don't allow activities or presentations with religious or political content or themes. Please be sensitive to our patients and the hospital setting and make no references to death or violence.
  • A child life specialist will announce your activity to eligible families the morning of your visit. Please understand that sometimes there are no eligible children during scheduled visits.

Community Celebrity Visitors

  • Community celebrities (prominent athletes, pageant queens, firefighters, etc.) must be approved by the Child Life Department and may apply for room-to-room visits. Please understand that not all celebrity requests are approved.
  • Visitors must be 16 or older; teenaged visitors must have an adult with them.
  • Community celebrity groups are limited to 10 people, including group leaders, chaperones, and coaches.
  • A child life specialist will accompany you for the duration of your visit.
  • We highly encourage you to bring a handout (head shot, team photo, etc.); don't wrap any other types of handouts and make sure they're age-appropriate.

Health Screening

  • You must be free of a cough or runny nose.
  • You can't have a fever over 100 degrees, or have vomited or had diarrhea within the last 24 hours.
  • You can't have been exposed to communicable diseases like pink eye or chicken pox for the previous 30 days.
  • You can't have any open or draining wounds, like cold sores or fever blisters.

During Your Visit

Arrival Procedure

  • We'll have a representative meet you in either the main lobby, the playroom, or at the pediatrics desk. Please ask for directions beforehand if you're not sure where to go.
  • Please sanitize your hands on entering and leaving the pediatric unit and each patient's room.

Confidentiality

  • Federal law requires us to keep all patient information private and confidential. We'll give you enough information to have a meaningful conversation, but please obey some simple rules:
    • Don't ask any personal questions, like why the patient is in the hospital or where he or she lives.
    • Any information you learn is confidential and can't be shared with anyone.
    • Don't exchange phone numbers, email addresses, social media information, etc. with patients or their families.

Interacting with Patients

  • Children feel more comfortable when people are at eye level. In the playroom, please sit instead of standing. If you're talking to a child in bed or in a wheelchair, crouch to their level. Don't sit on their beds.
  • Keep your conversations away from their reasons for being in the hospital. Easy, conversational questions that concern favorite sports, activities, or pets are best.
  • When leaving, avoid casual talk that might be false or convey false hope. Don't say, "See you later," "You'll be out of here soon," or "Get better soon." Thanking them for the visit and tell them you enjoyed your time with them is a meaningful way to say goodbye.
  • Avoid touching the children unless they initiate it, like a high-five or fist bump.
  • Please go only to the rooms as directed. Some families don't want visitors.

Isolation Precautions

  • Some children are in isolation to control for risk of infection. This means their family is with them and none of them can be in the communal spaces. You can't enter an isolation room, but the child life specialist may ask you wave at the child from the doorway.

Proper Dress

  • Please make sure everyone in your group is appropriately dressed for our children.
  • Pants shouldn't be too tight or too low; shorts and skirts need to be knee-length or longer.
  • Tank tops, low-cut shirts, or shirts with inappropriate, religious, or political slogans aren't allowed.
  • For your safety, don't wear flip-flops.

Taking Pictures

To maintain confidentiality, photographs and video must go through a separate approval process. While we may take in-house pictures of you with patients to give to the children, visitors can't take any images for personal or professional reasons without prior approval from St. Luke's Marketing Department.

Third Party Events

Any groups interested in raising money or items on behalf of St. Luke's Children's Hospital should contact the St. Luke's Foundation before beginning any activities. You can call them at (208) 381-2123.

Media-Specific Guidelines

  • If you want to include media coverage, include that request in your application, and we'll consider it along with the rest of your visit.
  • If we approve media coverage, a St. Luke's Children's Hospital representative will handle consents and let you know which children are available for coverage. (Photographs may not include children without a consent form, even if the intent is to crop them out later.)