IF YOUR CHILD must be hospitalized and you have a choice of hospitals, you may want to see which offer:
* Pre-hospitalization tours or other orientation programs
* A Child Life department
* Unlimited parental visits
* Visiting privileges for siblings
* Permission for parents to be with a child during anesthesia
* Support groups or other psychological services for children
* Arrangements for parents who want to stay overnight.
If your hospital does not provide accommodations, see if it has a Ronald McDonald House. There are more than 100 of these homes-away-from-home near hospitals around the country, providing inexpensive or free living space for families who must travel from another city for a child's hospital care.
For information, contact Ronald McDonald House, c/o Golin/Harris Communications, 500 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, Ill., 60611. The telephone number is (312) 836-7104.
To help parents and children through a hospital stay, the Association for the Care of Children's Health has a host of pamphlets, videos and other information. Contact it at 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 300, Bethesda, Md., 20814. The telephone number is (301) 654-6549.