Possum - Surgical Short Stay

Parent and ward information

  • Find out more about the Possum Ward

    Infection Control

    Hospitals are full of sick patients, and there is a high risk of infection for other patients, parents and visitors. It is vital that everyone works hard to prevent the spread of germs. The best way to do this is by washing your hands regularly and using the hand sanitiser gel provided throughout the ward. Please ensure you gel your hands before entering and leaving a patient room and ensure you wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food and attending to personal and patient hygiene.

    Children who have an infectious illness will have special signs outside their room instructing staff that they need to wear gowns and/or masks. Please ask your child’s nurse for help if you have any questions.

    If your child is infectious, it is important to limit the number of visitors who come to see them. Walking around the ward or to other areas of the hospital can expose other people to infection, so your child should try to stay in their room as much as possible.

    Patient Identification

    When we admit your child, they will have an identification (ID) band attached around their wrist or ankle. The information on the band includes the patient’s name, date of birth, their unique RCH record number (or UR number), and a barcode. A red ID band indicates your child needs an additional alert regarding allergies. Many different nursing, medical and allied health staff will care for your child throughout their stay and will routinely scan your child’s ID band to confirm the patient’s information.

    Your child will not be able to receive treatment while in hospital if they do not have an ID band

    It is essential to wear an ID band at all times, so please speak with nursing staff if your child does not have one.


    Visitors are very welcome and are wonderful for company and distraction. Please remind family and friends that patients require lots of rest to recuperate and ask they observe visiting hours.

    Click here for up-to-date visitor guidelines. Some restrictions on visitor numbers are in place due to COVID-19 – please check these carefully before you visit. 

    Car Parking

    See the Car Parking page in the Guide to RCH for parking information.

    Mobile Phones

    Please be considerate of mobile phone use throughout the ward. Please keep mobiles on silent and conversations at an appropriate tone and volume. There are phones in each room for family/friends to call you on, please ask nursing staff for you room’s number.


    You are welcome to photograph and video your child while on Possum Ward, but please do not capture images of any RCH staff or other children or family members unless they give permission.

    Ward Rounds, Surgery and Medical Imaging

    Every day, doctors visit the wards to see their patients. Our doctors are friendly and approachable and will welcome your input and questions. It can be helpful to write down any questions you think of to ask when the doctor visits. You might like to use the room’s communication board to jot down your questions. If issues arise, your child’s nurse can contact the doctors at any time.

    Remember, you are a vital member of your child’s care team, so please participate as fully as you can during ward rounds and ongoing treatment.

    While in hospital, your child might need to have a surgical procedure. Surgery usually means having to fast (nothing at all to drink) and being taken to the operating theatre on level 3. You will meet your child’s surgeon, anaesthetist and the theatre staff, who will explain in detail what will happen. When your child wakes up after the operation they will stay in the recovery room close to the operating theatres for a length of time. Once they are awake and as comfortable as they can be, they will go back to their room on the Possum ward.

    Throughout the admission, your child may also have appointments with Medical Imaging on the lower ground floor. They may need to have X-rays, scans or other investigations performed to ensure that their recovery after surgery is coming along as anticipated.

    Discharge Planning

    But we just got here! Yes, we understand that it might seem a little strange that discharge planning starts as soon as your child arrives, but to make sure your child can go home as soon as possible we need to work together from the moment you arrive.

    Going home is a critical process that is managed carefully to ensure that your child is safe and that you can continue to manage any ongoing treatment carefully.

    Throughout your child’s stay, we will be working with you to achieve a safe discharge. If medications or treatments are continuing when you get home, participate with your child’s nurse in performing these procedures as often as you can during the stay so that you feel confident to manage when you go home. Pharmacy and nursing staff can provide education and written information on administering your child’s medications. If you have any concerns about your ability to manage any aspect of your child’s condition, please raised these early with your child’s nurse. Please ensure you speak to your nurse if you have issues with transport home.

    Before you leave, carefully check the room to ensure that none of your personal belongings are left behind. If required, a certificate of attendance can be issued at the time of discharge.

    Kitchen and Food

    Food for patients

    Ward Fridge

    The ward refrigerator is strictly for patient’s food only. Food for parents, siblings or visitors must not be storied in this area. Inappropriate foods will be removed to ensure compliance with the hospitals Food Safety policy.

    The fridge and pantry has bread, spreads, snacks and drinks. This food is provided for patients use only and is not for parents, siblings or visitors. If you require anything extra for your child, please ask your child’s nurse or ward clerk and they can send a request to the main kitchen. Children with food allergies should not be offered foods from the ward pantry, and all additional food requests for these children must be directed to the main kitchen. The ward freezer is available only for the storage of icy poles and ice cream for the patients.

    To maintain hygiene standards, please wash your hands at the basin or use hand sanitiser gel each time you enter the pantry or handle food.


    The hospital’s main kitchen will provide all of your child’s meals during their stay. Children with food allergies, therapeutic diets (eg diabetes, coeliac disease) and/or religious or cultural beliefs (kosher or halal meals) will receive meals and foods consistent with these dietary requirements. Please tell your nurse if your child has any special dietary requirements.

    Meals are distributed around the following times each day

    • Breakfast: 7:30am
    • Lunch: 11:30am
    • Dinner: 5pm

    A food service assistant will deliver the meal tray to your child’s room. It is important that they correctly identify your child before leaving the meal tray to ensure that each child receives the correct meal. If a parent is not present or your child is too young, your child’s nurse will be asked to provide confirmation, or the meal will not be left.

    To comply with the hospitals Food Safety Policy, the food service assistant will return to collect the meal tray one hour after delivery. Non-perishable items can be retained, but all other foods must be collected at this time. If your child is still hungry, you can find additional food items in the ward pantry.

    If your child needs to fast for a period before a medical procedure, your nurse will tell you. It’s really important to strictly follow these instructions so that testes or procedures are not delayed. Please do not offer food or drinks to other children on the ward in case they are fasting or have allergies.

    Bringing meals for patient’s in hospital

    The RCH strongly recommends children admitted to hospital do not consume meals brought from home or outside suppliers (takeaway) during their stay. Preparing, cooking, transporting and reheating food can cause harmful bacteria to grow, putting your child at risk of becoming very unwell.

    If you bring meals from home or outside suppliers, they must adhere to the following rules:

    • All meals must be refrigerated immediately after preparation and transported with an ice pack in an insulated food carry bag or Esky. Food transported at room temperature is more likely to allow bacteria to grown that will make your child unwell.
    • All meals must be eaten immediately after they arrive. A microwave is available in the ward pantry kitchen for reheating meals. The meals should be heated through evenly, consumed immediately and not reheated again.
    • Do not store pre-prepared meals in the ward pantry fridge for later use.
    • If your child does not finish the meal, the leftovers must be thrown out. Partially eaten meals of leftovers cannot be stored in the fridge and will be discarded by hospital staff.
    • Staff will not be involved in the preparation, handling and provision of meals brought in from home or external source.

      Food for families

      Although the RCH does not supply food or beverages for parents, siblings or visitors, you will find tea and coffee making supplies and items for breakfast (including cereal, milk, bread and spreads) in the parent lounge on the ward. You are also welcome to supply your own food and drink when your child is in hospital.

      A communal refrigerator is available for general food storage in the parent lounge located near the entry to the ward. You can store your own homemade or purchased food in this fridge. Please take note of the following guidelines:

        • Staff will discard any items found in the fridge which do not meet these guidelines:
        • This food cannot be offered to your child who is the patient in hospital
        • All food must be in containers and labelled clearly with your family name, child’s room number and date you placed the item in the fridge. Labels and a pen are available in the parents lounge.
        • Any unlabelled food or food left for more than three days will be thrown out.
        • Before discharge, or after three days, please remove the food you have stored in the fridge. The fridge is cleaned and the contents reviewed regularly.
        • Take care to collect and special containers you’ve bought from home so they aren’t accidentally thrown out.

        Staff will discard any items found in the fridge which do not meet these guidelines.

        Parent lounge

        The parent lounge is located on entrance to the ward. You will find a fridge, chairs, television, tea and coffee making facilities and a small kitchenette. Please feel free to make yourself at home and relax in these facilities, as it is important to take time out to look after yourself when your child is in hospital.

        We thank you for cleaning up after yourself when using the parent lounge. Although we have cleaning staff they are limited in number and have great demands on their time. Please do not wash your dishes in the sink. Rather, rinse and place all items in the dishwasher provided to ensure that they are cleaned and sanitised correctly.

        There are cafes, a convenience store and a supermarket on the ground floor of the hospital if you need to purchase food. You are welcome to bring this back to your child’s ward, being mindful of the previous guidelines. Please be aware that consuming alcohol is not permitted in any part of the RCH including parent accommodation areas, parent lounges, the Family Hub or outdoor or garden space.

        Breastfeeding, EMB & Formula


        The RCH actively supports and promotes breastfeeding. Your supply of breastmilk can be particularly vulnerable when your baby is sick, so our staff will work with you to maintain your supply and optimise breastfeeding while your child is in hospital. Possum ward has a hospital grade expressing pump for mothers to use, please ask your nurse if you require this and any assistance using the breast pump. Breastfeeding mothers are offered meals and can be collected during the following times from B2, green lifts:


        11.45am - 12.30pm, Daily


        5.30pm - 6.15pm, Daily

        Mothers must bring a patient name (UR) label for their child. Please let your child’s nurse know if the mother has any allergies. Breakfast is supplied in the parents tea and coffee room.

        Formula, Expressed Breast Milk & Bottles

        Possum ward has the capacity to store expressed breast milk (EBM) and/or formula. Fortified EBM and formula are prepared and delivered to this fridge between 2pm-3pm each day from the central formula room.

        To store frozen breastmilk in the Central Formula Room (level B2, green lifts), the milk must be frozen solid and have at least four months before it expires.  Any partially defrosted breastmilk will be handled as per fresh breastmilk. Up to 2 litres of breastmilk can be frozen, so please take any extra home. When it’s time to go home, collect unused breastmilk and/or tins of own formula from the central formula room. 

        If you require formula for your child, please bring in an unopened tin of formula so it can be prepared for you in the central formula room, this is to ensure our infection and prevention guidelines are a heard to.

        There is a bottle warmer in the parents lounge as well as expressing kits, feeding teats and empty green-capped bottles for storing expressed breast milk (EBM) in the ward pantry.

        Please return all feeding bottles and teats to the bins provided after use. They will be collected each day and returned to the central formula room for cleaning and sanitising. Please do not take the bottles home. Water in the bottle warmer needs to be discarded after every use to avoid cross-contamination between feeds.

        Nappies and continence aids

        Supplies of newborn, junior, crawler and toddler-sized nappies, Molicare continence pads and nappy disposal bags are available, so please ask a nurse for what your child needs. Your child’s nurse will let you know if nappies or continence pads need to be weighed for fluid observation before disposal.