Theatre Admissions Unit

TAU reception

Welcome to our Theatre Admissions Unit (TAU) where children having surgery or a procedure that requires a general anaesthetic are admitted.

We also hold orthopaedic pre-admission clinics and bladder scanning here.

We generally see patients between three months and 16 years old.

Nearly all children who go to theatre come to TAU before their operation. Patients who need an inpatient bed will go straight to a ward after theatre. Day cases return to TAU to recover before discharge home.

If your child is coming in for a quick medical procedure or an infusion, this normally takes place in Medical Daycare.

Visitor information

We ask that children coming to TAU are accompanied by a maximum of one adult only. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate any other children unless they are breastfed babies due to limited space and the need to prevent infections being brought in from outside the hospital. If this causes any problems please call TAU on 0114 271 7343 / 0114 271 7393.

We also ask that you do not eat or drink in the waiting area as children are starved for theatre and this would be unfair to them. A parent/visitor room with a free drinks machine is situated next to the Theatre Admissions Unit. Thank you for your co-operation on this matter.

Please try not to bring valuables with you. The Trust cannot accept any liability for loss or damage of valuables.

Planning your visit

We know that having an operation can be scary and we want children and their families to feel as confident as possible before coming to hospital. We have created a guide for patients and families to download which explains what happens when a child comes to hospital for an operation.

Free app to help prepare
Download the Little Journey app to help you and your child to prepare for their surgery. Explore interactive photos, watch videos to explain what will happen, and use checklists to help everyone be ready for the day. Available free on iOS and Android

You can also watch a video that talks through the process of coming to the Theatre Admissions Unit, including Widgit symbols and Makaton.

There is lots of extra information for you to read below to find out how we can help you prepare and make your visit as comfortable as possible:

Visiting hospital can be a daunting experience for adults and children alike. We want to reduce any anxieties and help make your visit as stress free as possible.

Many people worry about how to prepare their child for a general anaesthetic and an operation. There are some useful ideas in our anaesthetic area.

Our full time Play Specialist can help distract children by providing activities, toys and games.

We also have a home-from-home room designed to help children and young people relax. This has a sofa, television, DVD player and other activities and is ideal for patients who have a specific need for a quiet space.

For children with additional needs we have a symbol communication scheme (WIDGIT) which can help plan your child’s journey through TAU. This gives them some control and helps to reduce any stress they may be feeling.

My Daycase Operation is a leaflet illustrated with WIDGIT symbols explaining the steps in the journey from arrival at Theatre Admissions Unit to going home again. Flashcards are also included to allow a timeline to be created for individual children.

If you feel this approach would be useful for your child, please contact the TAU play specialist on 0114 271 7343 / 0114 271 7393, who will be able to help you prepare your child before coming to hospital and on the day of surgery.

If your child is particularly anxious about coming to hospital, it may be possible to arrange a pre-admission visit to help familiarise them with TAU. Please contact our Play Specialist on 0114 271 7343 / 0114 271 7393 for further information or to arrange a visit.

Chris uses Makaton and Widgit symbols to show us what happens when Rory come to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for an operation.

Click a file to download a translated version of the surgery information leaflet.

Click to hear a Somali translation of the surgery information leaflet.

The BBC filmed an episode of ‘Something Special’ here at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in 2010. The episode shows Justin following the story of a little boy called Ciaran as he comes to TAU, meets some doctors and nurses, has an anaesthetic for an ear operation and enjoys his toast before going home. Mr Tumble also has some adventures around the hospital as he searches for Grandad Tumble, who has been staying on one of the wards. The entire programme is augmented with signing in Makaton.

You can watch the episode for £1.89 on YouTube or it appears on the DVD compilation ‘Something Special – Hello Mr Tumble’, currently on sale in the BBC Shop for £4.75.

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Read Jenny's "Why I work at Sheffield Children's" and other stories on our website here: #WeAreSheffieldChildrens
To protect our patients we are restricting visitors to one person per patient at Sheffield Children’s at all sites. Please help us to keep your family members safe.See more NHS guidance about COVID-19

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