Hospital support for SEND children and young people

Sometimes your child may need to visit the hospital to receive support or treatment.

When visiting the hospital, they must be able to attend any booked appointment. All health services have a duty of care to make changes and responsible adjustments for those with learning disabilities. This can include easy read documents, longer appointments and clearer signs. Find out more about your child's rights.

Visiting the hospital

If you or your child need help or advice while in hospital, you can ask a member of staff or contact the hospital's Patient and Liaison Service (PALS). They offer confidential advice, support and information for patients, families and their carers. They can help with concerns or problems that you may have using NHS services.

For any children who are being referred to hospital by their GP, you can ask PALS to check whether the hospital has a learning disability liaison nurse. This is a specialist nurse who supports people with a learning disability while they're in hospital to make sure they get the care they need. It's important the nurse meets you and your child as soon as possible after you arrive at hospital or, ideally, before a hospital stay. This allows them to find out about your child and understand the help they may need.

Documents you may need to bring to the hospital

You may need to bring some documents when you visit the hospital:

  • a health (hospital) passport, a document about your child and their health needs. It allows health staff to understand the needs of your child, and help them make the necessary reasonable adjustments to the care and treatment they provide. It also contains other useful information, like:
    • their interests, likes and dislikes
    • how your child likes to communicate
    • how they express things such as happiness, sadness, pain and discomfort
  • a medical referral letter, which outlines what the hospital staff should know about your child's disability and what reasonable adjustments they need.

Support guides

The NHS and healthcare services have provided some helpful visual guides to support you and your child when visiting the hospital:

Care after leaving hospital

Each hospital in Kent has its own discharge policy, if you are unsure of the hospital's policy you can ask the ward manager or PALS.

When leaving the hospital, there should be a plan set in place. This plan can include transport from the hospital, or helping your child to settle in once they are at home. This care can involve medication or an ongoing care plan via your GP or social services.

Find out more about the discharge process on the NHS website.

You also may need additional support from our social services team, where you may need to be assessed by our community care team or you may require equipment or help adapting your home. Read how social services may be able to help you.

If you are unhappy with the support and help you have been provided during your hospital visit, you can contact one of the support groups to discuss your health rights.