How You Can Help Children's Hospital

Guidelines for Community Groups and Entertainers

Thank you for your interest in visiting or sharing your talents at Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System (GHS). To help your group plan an effective, enjoyable visit for our children and families, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:

  • All groups and special guests are scheduled through Child Life Services at least two weeks in advance. Child Life staff will coordinate and escort you throughout your visit. Groups can consist of 10 people or less including any mascot or chaperone.
  • Due to their medical condition, children are permitted to be out of their rooms for only a limited amount of time. It is important for all groups visiting GHS Children’s Hospital to be on time. Any group arriving 15 minutes after their scheduled time will not be permitted to visit.
  • All groups and special guests must have a purpose for visiting. Children and staff always appreciate entertainment and singing groups; however, the hospitalized child has a limited attention span and often needs more rest that usual. Your performance should be appropriate for children, and the content must be pleasant. It should last at least 30 minutes but no longer than 45 minutes.
  • Children’s Hospital does not allow groups of children under the age of 18 to visit. If your group includes any children under the age of 18, please consider talking with the Child Life Staff about opportunities to complete service projects outside the hospital.
  • If a group member has had a fever or cold within the past 24 hours or has been exposed to chicken pox, measles, mumps, or any other communicable disease, PLEASE DO NOT plan to visit the children. Remember, although they may feel fine, your presence can still pose a danger to our children.
  • The stress of hospitalization increases children’s fears; therefore, your activity must not deal with threatening themes such as scary characters, illness, medical procedures, or death.
  • If your organization is bringing a costumed character, mascot, or clown to Children’s Hospital, please notify the Child Life Department in advance. Break areas or dressing areas will be arranged. Costumes must not be frightening or emotionally disturbing (i.e. gorillas, vampires, monsters, etc.). The mascot’s body movements should be slow and friendly, and children should never see the costumed character remove any part of the attire in their presence.
  • Our children come from a wide variety of religious, political, and social backgrounds. Therefore, hospital policy requires that no religious literature be distributed, left in public areas on hospital property, or included in the content of any presentation.
  • Age-appropriate gifts, toys, or favors may be brought to children with prior approval of the Child Life staff. Safe and age appropriate items may be distributed at the time of your visit with Child Life assistance. Child Life will assist with the transportation of items from the hospital lobby to the unit. Latex balloons are not permitted; however, mylar balloons are acceptable. Food treats are not recommended and must be approved by Child Life staff prior to your visit. When food items are approved they must be store bought and individually wrapped.
  • Due to patient confidentiality, photographs are not permitted without parent and staff consent. All photo consents must be coordinated with hospital personnel prior to your visit. If your organization would like to have media present during your visit, you must contact the GHS Public Relations Department, (864) 455-7860, prior to your visit.

Please review these suggestions with your group before visiting GHS Children’s Hospital:

  • Be aware that reactions of the hospitalized children differ from those of healthy children and expressions of appreciation or affection may be restrained.
  • Approach children slowly, allowing them to decide to what extent they wish to interact with you. If a child shows any resistance or distress, please move away.
  • Greet hospitalized children as you would other children; however, please avoid questions such as: “What is wrong with you?” “Why are you here?” and “When are you going home?” Statements such as “Get well soon” and “See you next time” are often confusing to the hospitalized child.
  • Due to confidentiality, hospital staff are unable to disclose information regarding the child’s illness or reason for hospitalization.
  • On occasion, it may be difficult to distinguish a child’s gender. Child Life will provide you with the name, age, and gender of each child before each interaction. If you are unsure of a child’s gender, please do not guess.
  • Hospitalized children may appear visibly injured or ill or may have experienced dramatic changes in appearance. Please do not comment on appearance. Child Life staff will provide you with information regarding what to expect.

To learn more contact Child Life at (864) 455-7846 or the Visitor Services Department at (864) 455-7799.

Ways to Give

Virtual Toy Drive

Make a difference for a child at Children's Hospital by purchasing any one of the items you see featured in our Virtual Toy Drive. All items have been identified by Children's Hospital staff as needed to help us in our efforts to go beyond providing traditional medical care. As a donor, you select and pay for an item, and we take care of securing and distributing the item. Any item(s) you select are needed and very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Virtual Toy Drive and for helping to make a difference!  To start shopping, click here.

Child Life Volunteer

If you are over the age of 18 and interested in working with pediatric patients, you can apply to become a Child Life volunteer. Volunteer responsibilities include: taking patients/siblings to the playroom, offering parents a much needed break from the hospital room, and conducting bedside activities with patients and various administrative tasks.

For more information on volunteering with Child Life, email us at Childlifeprogram@ghs.org. To download an application, click here.

Service Projects

The Child Life program works with youth groups and community organizations to coordinate service projects that benefit the children and families of Children's Hospital. For project ideas and additional information, click here.