The La Rabida Experience

It’s not fun to be hospitalized, especially if you’re a child.  The young patients we treat at
La Rabida live with chronic illnesses or disabilities, or they may need rehabilitation after surgery or an injury.  As a result, their hospital stays can be frequent and longer than most.

That’s why we take a family-centered approach that aims to make a stay at La Rabida as comfortable as possible for children and their families.  

The patient handbook helps patients and families to prepare for the important journey aboard the
S.S. La Rabida.

Children are VIP Passengers
When a family arrives at La Rabida, they discover a warm, engaging place with bright colors, sunlight and first-class facilities.  Our inpatient unit, the “SS La Rabida,” is designed like a cruise ship. Patients are our “VIP passengers” at the center of treatment plan created by a multidisciplinary “crew” of health care professionals.  After admission “pre-boarding,” patients are assigned to a “cabin” with a brilliant water view.  Families are encouraged to personalize their child’s cabin with familiar items from home. 

Partnering with Parents
From the moment patients are admitted, our goal is to prepare them and their family for a smooth, safe transition home.  For this reason, we consider parents active partners in the compassionate care and treatment of their child.  Parents are welcome at La Rabida at all times and are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s hospital stay.  When unable to visit for any reason, parents or primary caregivers may phone the nurse’s station at any time to check on their child’s well-being.

To help parents and caregivers participate in their child’s care, members of the medical team:

  • Describe the child’s condition and treatment plan
  • Communicate regularly to families about the child’s progress and next steps
  • Create opportunities for families to learn how to take care of the child after discharge
  • Provide information and training materials to extend and reinforce learning

We encourage families to enjoy meals with their hospitalized child whenever possible.  The parent of a hospitalized child receives a meal voucher each day redeemable for a complimentary meal from our onsite cafeteria.

A comfortable fold-out bed tucked into the window seat of each patient cabin is available when a parent wishes to stay overnight.  

Other Amenities

  • Free parking
  • Individual thermostatic controls in cabins
  • For overnight guests, shower facilities with towels and soap (in Parent Room adjacent to the inpatient unit)
  • Laundry room with free washer, dryer and laundry products for your child’s laundry 
  • Wireless internet access

Time for Kids to be Kids
Children learn by playing—and they need to play, even while in the hospital. La Rabida offers many opportunities and settings for joyful play.  Children and their families may visit our many play areas:

  • The “sundeck” where ambulatory patients can dine and socialize with other children, staff and volunteers.
  • The inpatient playroom 
  • The Burton J. Grossman Children’s Pavilion, where children can pursue arts and crafts, play video games or use computers. 
  • In-room activities provided by Child Life

Child Life
La Rabida's Child Life Program helps young patients adjust to being in the hospital. Child Life professionals provide developmentally appropriate activities and educational programs for patients.

School-age patients who will miss ten or more days of school due to illness may be eligible for the Home/Hospital program operated by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  Under this program, a CPS teacher works with the child and coordinates with parents, the school and La Rabida while the child is away from school.

Learn More
To learn more about the La Rabida experience, view the patient and family handbook. Better yet, take the tour.