Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Frequently asked questions
Staff in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Boston Children's Hospital care for children with acute and chronic illnesses of the digestive system and liver.
In order to make your child's visit to the hospital as comfortable and easy as possible, here are some frequently asked questions about your child's visit to the gastroenterology program:
What happens in a GI evaluation?
- The initial evaluation takes one or two visits to the GI Program.
- During the first visit, a doctor or nurse practitioner will ask you and your child questions. Your child will have a physical exam.
- X-rays, blood tests, or other tests may be done at this first visit.
- A dietitian or other members of the GI team may see your child.
- The doctor or nurse practitioner will talk with you about the results of the evaluation and make a plan for your child. This may include further testing.
- The results will be sent to your child's other doctors.
- Regular follow-up visits may be needed to see how your child is doing.
How long will the visit take?
- A first visit may take up to 2 to 3 hours.
- Follow-up visits take about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Plan to arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the time of your visit. This will give you enough time to park and register at the Fegan Outpatient Registration Area. Bring your parking ticket so it can be stamped for discount parking.
- Your child's visit may have to be rescheduled if you don't arrive on time.
Who are the staff of the gastroenterology program?
Your child will be seen by an attending doctor, called a gastroenterologist. Fellows, residents, medical students or a nurse practitioner may also see your child. The attending doctor manages all of your child's care and closely supervises the work of the residents, fellows and the nurse practitioners.
- A fellow is a licensed doctor who has completed training in pediatrics and is training in gastroenterology.
- A resident is a licensed doctor with training in pediatrics.
- A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master's degree and advanced training in pediatrics.
- The nursing staff helps care for your child and teaches you about your child's illness. Nurses discuss your child's medicine and prepare you and your child for any tests.
- It is helpful to write down questions before you come for a visit. You can also call the nurses with any questions about your child's visit, illness or treatment.
- A dietitian reviews your child's diet to make sure it is balanced.
- A dietitian teaches you about diet changes your child may need for his or her illness.
- A social worker is available to help families cope with their child's illness.
- A social worker can offer support and help find hospital and community resources. He or she can also assist with financial and insurance concerns related to your child's illness.
What should I bring to the hospital?
- For a first-time visit, bring your child's medical records, a growth chart, a list of all your child's medications and results of lab tests. Ask your child's primary care provider for this information.
- If you are bringing your child for a second opinion, send your child's medical records at least one week before the visit. This includes the medical chart, X-rays and biopsy slides from the gastroenterologist. If this is not possible, bring them to the appointment.
- Bring the name and complete address of your child's primary care provider and the names and addresses of anyone else you would like to receive a report.
Who do I call if my child gets sick or I have any questions?
- For problems or questions related to your child's GI illness, call the GI program nurse at 617-355-6058 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. A nurse will call you back by the end of the day.
- For urgent needs in the evening, or on weekends and holidays you may page the GI doctor on call. Call the Boston Children's Hospital page operator at 617-355-6369.
What do I do if I need to refill a medication?
- Plan ahead so that you don't run out of medicine. Ask for refills when you come for an appointment. Do not wait until the medication has run out.
- If you need to call for a refill, call the prescription refill line at 617-355-6058. Leave your child's name, doctor's name, the name of the medication, the dose, and the pharmacy phone number on the voice mail. Refills will be called into your pharmacy within 24 hours.