Admissions and Discharge

Your Child's Visit

Before your child is admitted to the hospital, an admissions counselor will call you to provide important information regarding your child's hospital stay and answer your questions. Your doctor also may schedule routine medical tests, such as laboratory tests or X-rays, prior to your child's hospitalization. Other routine tests may be performed on the day of your child's admission.

If your child is scheduled for a surgical procedure, your child's doctor will schedule an appointment at the Prepare Clinic, our anesthesia and surgical evaluation program. The Prepare Clinic will make sure your child is ready for surgery and will perform tests and blood work.

More information about your child's admission is available in our guide:

Your Child's Hospital Stay

Hospital Team

Your child is cared for by a staff trained to meet the special needs of children and their families. Our philosophy is to care for the whole child including his or her physical, emotional, developmental and social needs. Your role as parent or guardian is crucial in helping to restore your child's health. The following are members of the hospital team.


Your doctor, sometimes referred to as an attending physician, is responsible for managing your child's care. If necessary, your child's doctor may consult with other specialists regarding care. Since UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is a teaching hospital, you and your child may be seen by fellows, residents and medical students who work with your child's doctor. As a result, you receive the benefit of having a number of doctors working together with shared concerns for you and your child's well being.

  • Attending physicians are members of the team that determine and supervise your child's medical care. Attending physicians also teach other doctors to care for children. Your child will be assigned an attending physician. They change periodically, so please ask your nurse or doctor about the scheduled rotation of doctors on your child's unit.
  • Fellows are physicians who have completed their residency training and are now receiving advanced training in a pediatric specialty. Fellows work with an attending physician to provide your child's care. Fellows help teach interns and residents under the guidance of attending physicians.
  • Residents and interns are physicians completing training in pediatrics. They work under the guidance of attending physicians and fellows to provide your child's care.


Our nursing staff coordinates and provides care for your child and works as partners with you in healing your child. All of our nurses have received special training in the care of children and their families.

  • Charge nurses are responsible for overseeing the nursing care on your child's unit during a shift.
  • Clinical nurse specialists are registered nurses with advanced education in special areas. These nurses help coordinate your child's care and can teach you special skills to care for your child.
  • Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education in special areas. These nurses have training and skills in assessment, physical diagnosis and managing health needs in their specialty areas.
  • Patient care managers are responsible for supervising all nursing care on every shift on your child's unit.

In addition to our nursing staff, other health professionals help to ensure your child receives the highest quality of care.

  • Patient care assistants are trained to help nurses care for your child. They work under the supervision of a nurse and provide routine care activities but are unable to give medications.
  • Patient support assistants help units stay clean and equipped.
  • Unit coordinators provide clerical support, directions and answer questions for families and visitors.

Other Team Members

  • Child Life specialists help meet the developmental, educational and psychological needs of your child. They plan and provide activities and support to minimize stress and promote a normal child's life while in the hospital.
  • Interpreters provide patients and their families, as well as the health care team with interpreter services for all languages, including sign language. If you need an interpreter, please tell your nurse, so they can arrange this service for you.
  • Lactation specialists help mothers and babies breastfeed. If you have questions or concerns regarding breastfeeding, please ask your nurse to contact them.
  • Nutritionists offer guidance on nutrition to help your child to grow and heal. Please contact your nurse for consultation with a nutritionist.
  • Pharmacists fill prescriptions ordered by the doctor and provide important information about your child's medications.
  • Radiology technologists perform X rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans, MRI scans and other tests to help the healthcare team treat your child.
  • Social workers provide counseling, information, referrals to community agencies and emotional support. They can help decrease stress and guide you and your family during your hospital stay.
  • Spiritual care staff are available for your child's and family's religious and spiritual needs. Concerned with the total well being of the patient and family, the staff offers support, comfort and spiritual resources during your hospital stay. The Meditation Room is available for patients and families who would like a quiet place for meditation and prayer. It is located in the lobby of hospital next to the information desk.
  • Therapists are available in the areas of occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapy to help children adapt to activities of daily living, breath and speak.


Planning for your child's discharge and return home will begin soon after he or she is admitted. Staff members caring for your child will work closely with you, anticipating special needs that you may require such as nursing, physical therapy or occupational therapy, equipment, special medications and transportation from the hospital to home.

Our case management staff will help plan for your child's discharge, make referrals to community resources if needed, coordinate insurance coverage, and work with the home care coordinator if home care services are needed. Our nursing staff will teach you any special procedures and answer questions so that you understand your child's home care needs at the time of discharge.

Returning Home

Before you leave the hospital, please review this checklist:

  1. Review any written instructions from your child's doctor or nurse and be sure to ask any questions you may have about medications, activities, treatments or care.
  2. Make sure you have scheduled any necessary follow-up appointments.
  3. Arrange for your nurse or a hospital pharmacist to call or fax the pharmacy of your choice to fill any prescriptions.
  4. Please remove any valuables you may have stored in the hospital safe.
  5. Check to see that you have packed everything you brought with you including any of your child's medications.

Related Information

Preparing for Your Stay

Child Life Services
Phone: (415) 353-1203

Pediatric Social Work
Phone: (415) 353-2655

Prepare Clinic
Phone: (415) 353-1099

Contact Us

For help finding a doctor or other assistance, contact our Physician Referral Service at (888) 689-UCSF or (888) 689-8273.

Have a question? Send us an email.