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At Benefis, we are committed to providing children with the special care they need from experts in virtually every area of children's health. Benefis recognizes that children are not just little adults. Their healthcare needs require special doctors, nurses and treatment. Almost 13,000 children from all around Montana receive care and treatment at Benefis each year.

Our commitment to helping children is evident in the child-friendly environment that you will experience throughout the entire hospital and in the special training of our staff and physicians who provide the necessary care and support for children and their families. The Benefis Pediatrics Unit on the 6th Floor of Benefis South Tower was designed with young patients in mind. The entire center combines light and art to create a total healing environment and includes all private rooms.

At Benefis, our pediatric outpatient medical professionals are available to care for your child at every stage of development, from birth to 18 years of age. They are experienced in taking care of acute illnesses, chronic disease management, injury, well-child care and behavioral assessments giving your child the most comprehensive care possible.

If you would like more information about Benefis Pediatric Services, please call:

Benefis Hospitals Pediatric Unit (Inpatient) at (406) 731-8700.
Benefis Pediatrics (Outpatient) at (406) 731-8865 or visit 1300 28th Street South, Suite 6.

Family Focus

Benefis knows children's health needs go beyond their physical concerns. In order to care for a child, the whole family must be involved. And, when a child is sick or hurt, the family needs support and care too. That's why we focus on the entire family.

Our family-focused care includes keeping kids and their families together. Our rooms are all-private and are designed to allow a parent to stay overnight with his or her child. The Pediatrics Unit features a family break room equipped with a washer and dryer, microwave, coffee machine and refrigerator, making it convenient for visitors to stay with patients receiving care for longer periods of time.

Preparing Your Child for a Visit

There may be a time when your child needs medical care outside the doctor's office. He or she may need a laboratory test, an X-ray, outpatient surgery or a visit to the emergency room. At some point, your child may even need to stay overnight at the hospital.

Benefis recognizes the unique needs of children and their families. We hope the following information will help you prepare your child for a health care experience. Remember, the best thing you can do is provide support for your child before, during and after the visit.

General Medical Care

Benefis Pediatric Services has developed the following information to help prepare you and your child for a health care experience. If you have any questions, please call (406) 455-5000 to speak with one of our specialists on the Pediatrics floor. Our specialists are here to help support your child's emotional, social and developmental needs related to a medical encounter.

  • Timing is important. The amount of time between telling your child and the actual visit might affect the amount of "worry time."
  • Explain the reason for the visit in a simple, truthful manner, using words your child will understand.
  • Tell your child what will happen. Information about many tests or procedures is available through your doctor's office. This information will make it easier for you to explain the test or procedure to your child. You might also want to ask your doctor to spend a few minutes with your child to explain what to expect.
  • Use the five senses when describing these events: what they will see, hear, smell, feel and taste.
  • Be prepared to answer questions such as How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can you stay with me? Is it my fault I need these tests? Some children may think they are being punished for something they've done wrong.
  • Tell your child it is OK to cry or be scared. Reassure them that you will be there for comfort. For certain procedures, you can have your child sit or lie on your lap. Staff can assist you in finding the best position for your child for the procedure to be performed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, with your child to use during painful times to help her/him feel more in control. Counting forward or backward is a good way to help a child relax.
  • Allow your child to bring a favorite comforting toy. Favorite small games or books may serve as a distraction during waiting periods and some procedures.
  • Reward your child. Let him or her push the buttons on the elevator or pick out a small treat in the gift shop. Help your child make positive associations, especially if he or she will have to return to the hospital again.
  • Prepare for your child's return home before you go. This will assure your child that hospitalization is only temporary.

If Your Child Is Spending the Night

Visitation is 24 hours a day for parents with children at Benefis Health System. Brothers and sisters may also visit if they are healthy. There are sleeping areas for parents in all patient rooms.

Putting Medical Terms into Simple Words

Words that are new to children or have different meanings can be confusing. Medical expressions should be explained in simple terms, so children can understand them. The following are a few examples of ways to help your child understand medical terms.

Shot - A poke or prick. How medicine is given. Not a gunshot.

Stretcher - A bed on wheels. You are not stretched.

X-ray - A picture of bones.

Anesthesia - Medicine to make you sleepy during your operation. When the operation is over, the doctor stops giving you that medicine and helps you wake up.

Take your vital signs - Measure your temperature, see how fast your heart is beating. Nothing is taken away from you.

Intravenous or IV - Medicine that works best when it is given in your arm. It's the quickest way to help you get better.

Preventive and Primary Care

  • Immunizations (shots)
  • Routine checkups and physical exams.*
  • Doctor visits for sick children.
  • Speech, hearing and vision tests
  • Dental checkups.
  • Laboratory and X-ray services.
  • Prescription (Rx) drugs.
  • Health education.
  • Family planning.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth services.

*All children should have at least the following number of well-child checkups:

  • From birth to 12 months: 8 checkups
  • From 15 months to 4 years old: 5 checkups
  • From 5 to 10 years old: 4 checkups
  • From 11 to 21 years old: 11 checkups

Major Medical Services

  • Consultation with doctors who specialize in treating children.
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services at a children's hospital.
  • Diagnostic services by specialists in evaluating children.
  • Transport services.

Special Care

  • Physical, speech, occupational and other types of rehabilitation therapy.
  • Equipment and supplies such as orthopedic devices, eyeglasses and hearing aids.
  • Treatment of seriously ill children at home or in a long-term care facility and, if at home, backup support for parents and caregivers.
  • Ongoing coordination of care for disabled or chronically ill children.
  • Hospice care for children with terminal illnesses.
  • Counseling for emotional problems.
  • Treatment for substance abuse.
  • Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics, 1995

Questions to Ask

There are a lot of questions racing through your mind when you have a child. Many of them will have to do with health care. Here are some of questions to ask your insurance provider, employer and physician about health care services for your child.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Provider

  • Is my child's doctor on your approved list? If not, will I be required to change doctors?
  • If my child needs to see a specialist, are there any conditions that have to be met or any restrictions as to where we can be referred?
  • Will the plan cover all services available at a children's hospital, including special care as well as "routine" services such as hernia repair, tonsillectomy and treatment of allergies?
  • If not, which services will be covered, and how is that decision made?
  • Is there anything I have to do before certain services or treatments for my child will be covered? If so, what is the approval process?

Questions to Ask Your Employer

  • Is there anything in the plan about pre-existing conditions?
  • Are there restrictions on which doctors and hospitals I can use? If so, which providers are under contract with the plan?
  • How does the plan cover out-of-network and out-of-town care?
  • Are Benefis-affiliated health plans, Treasure State, available to my family?

Questions to Ask Your Child's Doctor

  • Do you participate in any of these health care plans I'm considering for my child?
  • What do you think about the services and benefits offered by each plan?
  • Do the physicians you refer patients to participate in these plans?
  • If you need to refer my child to a specialist, do you need approval from the plan? If so, how easy is it to get an OK, and how long does it take?
  • If hospital care is necessary, are you allowed to send my child to a children's hospital?

What to Know About Hospital Care

Not all hospitals are the same. Benefis Health System is designed especially for children and their families. Toys, activities and comfortable rooms help kids deal with the stress of their stays. Our family-focused care supports and involves the entire family. Our specialists help children with the stress of hospitalization and help them make the transition to home and school after an illness. Most important, with the area's only neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, Benefis Health System offers the highest level of expertise in virtually every field of children's medicine.

Kids Health and Safety Links

Answers to many of your questions about children’s health and safety may be found on these websites:

If you would like more information about Benefis Pediatric Services, please call:

Benefis Hospitals Pediatric Unit (Inpatient) at (406) 731-8700.
Benefis Pediatrics (Outpatient) at (406) 731-8865 or visit 1300 28th Street South, Suite 6.