Welcome to the NIH Clinical Center
COVID-19 Information for Patients and Their Visitors
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fact Sheet for NIH Clinical Center Patients and Visitors
Información para pacientes acerca del COVID-19 para pacientes y visitantes del Centro Clínico de los NIH
Map: Hospital Floor Plan (Patient/Visitor Entrances)
New COVID-19 Testing Plan for Clinical Center Inpatient Admissions
Pruebas de detección obligatorias de COVID-19 para pacientes internados en el Centro Clínico
Pediatric Inpatient Visitor Policy (Effective March 25, 2020)
Reglamentos para visitas a pacientes pediátricos ingresados (Efectivo 25 de marzo de 2020)
Update to Patient Visitor Policy (Effective March 21, 2022)
Many parents are still understandably nervous about the effects of coronavirus in children — especially those with underlying health conditions. Most children and teens infected with COVID-19 appear to have had mild to moderate symptoms. But the COVID-19 pandemic may have other effects on children, including stress, fear, anxiety and frustration.
Because we know this can be a stressful time for children and families, we offer a wide range of resources and services for young patients and their families. Facilities such as The Children's Inn at NIH and the NIH Children's School, along with special recreational activities and highly-trained staff, all help make the NIH Clinical Center a caring place for families. This information will help you understand more about the hospital.
Please contact your child’s team to learn more about your child’s upcoming appointment, whether it is virtual or in person.
Planning Your Visit to the Clinical Center
Other children: We recommend that you leave your other children at home if possible. If this is not possible, another care provider must accompany the other child/children during your visit.
Preparing Your Child for a Visit to the Clinical Center
Arriving at the NIH
The Children's Inn at NIH is a nonprofit that provides free lodging and a wide range of recreational, educational and therapeutic support services to families of children and young adults up to age 30 who are participating in clinical trials at NIH. Please check with your medical team regarding lodging details. Conveniently located across the street from the NIH Clinical Center, The Inn serves as "a place like home" with private bedrooms with baths, common living rooms, kitchens and laundry facilities as well as an indoor play space, a large outdoor playground, a game room, a teen lounge, an art room, a gym and sports court, and more. Take a virtual tour of The Inn. Most days, The Inn provides free breakfast, lunch and dinner catered by volunteer groups. Free activities for children, families, teens and young adults are provided most afternoons and evenings throughout the week and include arts and crafts, theatre group visits, outings to local attractions, concerts, horseback riding and more. View The Inn's activities calendar. The Inn's education coordinator helps students complete school work and stays in touch with the teachers of patients and their siblings when needed. Free tutoring and English classes are available. Free transportation to grocery stores is provided on a weekly basis.
The first reservation to stay at the Children's Inn must come to the Inn through the patient's medical team. Thereafter, returning patients may call the Inn directly for reservations at 301-496-5672.
Pediatric Services at the Clinical Center
A 22-bed pediatric inpatient unit, located on 1NW provides care for patients from all Institutes. Inpatients on behavioral health protocols receive care on 1SW. This unit provides family-centered care, including rooming-in for one parent and a children's playroom. Children and families receive age-appropriate patient teaching, health promotion, and physical and emotional support. Nurses trained to care for children and their families staff the unit. Recreation therapy, art therapy, social work services, dietary services, spiritual care, and a schoolteacher all make the child's hospital stay as pleasant as possible-for the child as well as the family.
The Pediatric Day Hospital, located on 1NW, provides skilled care for children who need special care but do not need to be admitted as inpatients. Services include:
- medication administration
- patient and family teaching
- blood and urine testing
The Pediatric Consult Service is a resource for any clinical researcher who needs assistance with caring for pediatric patients. Researchers may ask for a one-time consultation for an acute pediatric problem or for on-going consultation to help manage long-term conditions.
PACC (Pediatric Anesthesia and Critical Care) Physicians
If your child requires a higher level of care, the research team may transfer your child to the care of the PACC team. In this case your child will continue to be cared for on 1NW, the pediatric unit. The PACC team is a group of pediatricians specialized in hospital medicine who are present and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They work in very close collaboration with the primary research team.
Meet Your Child's Care Team
Meet Your Patient Care Technician
A Certified Nursing Assistant working under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician or other health care professional to administer basic care to patients. They are responsible for obtaining and documenting vital signs, height, weight and assisting with Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) such as bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, and linen changes. They may also monitor/observe patients requiring 1:1 observation and care to meet their personal needs and maintain a safe environment. Often they have received additional training in phlebotomy which allows them to perform venipuncture for blood samples or to place an IV catheter for fluids and medication.
As part of our care for children enrolled in clinical trials at the Clinical Center, your child may be assigned or referred to a social worker. Social workers often contact families before their first visit to the Clinical Center or soon after their arrival. At any time during their visit, families may ask to meet with a social worker.
What They Do
Social workers help children and families cope with the emotional concerns of medical treatment. They work closely with Clinical Center physicians, nurses, spiritual care staff, recreation therapists, and the NIH school to address the emotional and social needs of young patients and their families.
The social worker can provide guidance related to navigating logistics associated with receiving care far from home.
When patients are ready to return home, social workers can assist with identifying resources in the family's local community and help coordinate care at home.
Contacting the Social Work Department
The Social Work Department is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. In emergencies, a social worker is on call after hours and on weekends. Feel free to call the Social Work Department at 301-496-2381.
We look forward to meeting your family and child.
The Inpatient Pharmacy
The Inpatient Pharmacy provides medications for hospitalized patients. Pharmacists check medication orders for potential allergies, proper dose, drug interactions, and drug incompatibilities. To assure that pediatric patients get the correct dose for their smaller size, pharmacists do a special check for patients less than 18 years old.
The Outpatient Pharmacy
If your NIH doctor prescribes drugs to take home that are related to your research study, they will be filled at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The Pharmacy will usually provide up to a 90-day supply with up to three refills. The outpatient pharmacy can also mail out medications to patients under certain circumstances.
Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Weekends and Holidays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
If you need to reach outpatient pharmacy during operating hours, call 301-496-2866.
If your prescriber allows you to refill your prescription, please call the automated refill line at 1-888-465-8208. If you need assistance for refills, call 301-496-2866 during operating hours.
Note: Prescriptions from outside doctors cannot be filled by the Clinical Center pharmacy; however, your prescriber may issue prescriptions to be filled by your community pharmacy.
Clinical Pharmacy Specialists
Clinical Pharmacy Specialists have advanced training and experience. They are assigned to patient care and often go on "rounds" with the medical team. They also:
- recommend specific medications
- take part in selecting medications for special needs
- monitor for side effects when medications are given
- do medication counseling and patient education
We encourage you to ask to meet your clinical pharmacist. We look forward to working with you and your child.
Inpatient Food Services
In order to assist your child with the best opportunity for good nutrition, we provide Room Service. Room services menus are located at each bedside. Your child can order meals and snacks anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. by calling 301-451-FOOD. After placing an order with the Room Service Attendant, a food service staff member will deliver the meal directly to your child's room within 45 minutes. We offer all menu items anytime during open hours. Beverages and snacks are also stocked on the pediatric units for snacking when Room Service is closed.
We offer many specialized Room Service menus for restricted diets such as Kosher, gluten-free, low fat, controlled carbohydrate, pureed, and low sodium diets. Menus are also available in Spanish.
For medical or research reasons, your child may need to follow a restricted diet that may not be part of the room service program. In these cases, meal selections may need to be made a day in advance using a paper menu.
Meals are for Clinical Center patients only. Cafeterias and coffee shops are available for family members and visitors. Vending machines are located outside the second floor cafeteria and are available 24 hours per day. Food in these locations is provided by a food service contractor.
Outpatient Food Services
Standard bag meals for breakfast and lunch may be ordered by the unit staff if your child is required to be in an outpatient clinic during meal time.
Questions or Concerns
If you would like to speak to a dietitian at any time during your child's inpatient or outpatient stay at NIH, please ask your doctor or nurse for a "consult" with the dietitian. If you have questions or concerns about your child's diet before you arrive at NIH, or if you need to plan for a special diet or formula, please call 301-496-3311.
Preparation for Procedures Your Child May Have
Activities for Children
Recreational Therapy Playroom
The Recreational Therapy Section playroom is located on the 1st floor of the Hatfield Center.
Certified Recreational Therapists provide medical play, procedural support, and family-centered care activities for patients, siblings, and young visitors of adult patients. Patients are engaged in developmentally appropriate play utilizing a variety of toys, electronic games, children's crafts, board games and the resident guinea pigs.