Visitor Check-in

Everyone visiting our medical center is met by one of our ambassadors at the Ambassadors' Desk in the entry lobby. The ambassador is here to help direct you and provide any information you may need about the hospital. He or she will issue you a color-coded badge so you can find the appropriate floor/s, and will quickly screen for colds and other contagious illnesses. We have a special sticker for kids to wear after screening.

Patient and Family Handbook

The Family Handbook is a downloadable guide with useful information to help make your stay with us as comfortable, convenient, and help you understand what resources are available to you.

  • Family Handbook
  • Manual para la Familia - Este manual se elaboró para hacerle saber sobre el hospital, nuestros cuidadores y los servicios especiales que encontrará en un lugar exclusivamente para los niños y sus familias.

School Program

The hospital school is fully accredited by the Oakland Unified School District, and all our teachers have graduate degrees and teaching credentials. Our in-house classroom features advanced technology tools, a rich curriculum, and frequent visits from special guests. Patients who aren't able to attend classroom sessions get teaching at the bedside. GED and SAT tutoring are available.
More: Hospital School Program

Child Life Specialists &  Pre-Operative Preparation

Kids don’t stop being kids just because they’re sick or injured. Child Life specialists help bridge the gap between home and hospital and school with age-appropriate activities designed to help young patients understand and adapt to the hospital experience. Our highly trained Child Life specialists include four certified teachers working in our Hospital School Program, an art therapist supporting kids in our Rehabilitation unit, and an artist-in-residence guiding projects in our Immunocompromised Unit.

Pre-operative "medical play" helps kids gain a sense of mastery over medical procedures that can seem frightening. This kind of preparation has been shown to reduce a child's anxiety and stress. In these sessions, a child life specialist familiarizes the child and his or her family with every aspect of the upcoming procedure. 

Phone: (510) 428-3520

More: Child Life Services Program


Artistic expression helps children heal on every level. Whether working with ceramics, printmaking, or mural painting, the creative process helps young children and teens work through traumatic experiences, voice unexpressed thoughts and emotions, and to simply enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of the creative process. Visitors can view some of our patient artwork in a number of locations throughout the hospital. For more information, call our artist-in-residence.

Phone: (510) 428-3885, Ext. 4424

More: Art Therapy

Music Therapy

Research shows that music therapy can assist in pain management, ease depression, promote movement, calm patients, and ease muscle tension. Most sessions are customized to the patient as one-on-one visits in the patient's room. A typical session may involve music listening, guided visualization, songwriting, improvisation, or music-assisted relaxation. For more information, contact: Maya Charlton, MA, MT-BC, Music Therapy Program Coordinator.

Phone: (510) 428-3885, Ext. 4025

More: Music Therapy

Play Areas

Kids don't stop being kids just because they're staying in the hospital. Patients who are mobile can visit:
  • Playrooms
  • Teen Lounge and Teen Program
  • Outdoor Playground
  • Outdoor Butterfly Garden

Teen Lounge

Teenagers need their own place. The Teen Lounge has a state-of-the-art entertainment center with tons of movies and games on demand, and it's a popular place to play foosball, bingo, video games, or just chill. Student interns and volunteer mentors from the community are there if teens need to talk.

Specially Protected Children

If you are visiting a child in the Intensive Care Nursery, Intensive Care Unit, or the Immunocompromised Unit, special visitation guidelines may apply. These guidelines are posted in the designated areas.

Lodging at Family House

This low-cost "home away from home" has 16 bedrooms available to qualifying families who live 70 miles or more from the hospital. Residents share a common living room, playroom, kitchen, and laundry room.

Families are referred by Children’s Hospital’s Medical Social Services department, but you are welcome to contact Family House directly for more information.

Phone: (510) 428-3100


An ambassador at the Family Resource Information Center can offer suggestions and here is a list of nearby hotels and local accommodations. Some offer a special rate for Children's families. Please contact Medical Social Services to inquire if this available before making a reservation.


Want to take a break from the hospital routine? Visit our Bay Area Information page for lists of area attractions and restaurant guides.

Gift Shop

Our staff is happy to help you find a unique gift for that special patient or staff member, with same-day, free delivery to any room in the hospital. Because the Gift Shop is owned and operated by the hospital, all proceeds support Children's Hospital Oakland. The Gift Shop is conveniently located near the first-floor main entrance of the main hospital building.

Phone orders are taken during store hours. Complimentary gift-wrapping is available upon request. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM and closed for lunch 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Phone: (510) 428-3275
Fax: (510) 597-7133


Sending an eCard is are a great way for extended family and friends to stay connected with your child during an extended hospital stay. Children's online greeting card service lets you easily create the card and send a personalized message. We print the card and hand-deliver it.

More: Send an eCard

Family Support Services

A child's health crisis can disrupt the whole family. Social workers, interpreters, supportive staff at the Family Resource & Information Center, and pastoral care at Children's Hospital Oakland help patients and their families access healthcare services, cope with stressful circumstances, and coordinate with hospital staff and community agencies.

Medical Social Services

Hours: M -F, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Phone: (510) 428-3325

Weekends, holidays, and after 5 PM call the hospital's main line for assistance: (510) 428-3000

More: Medical Social Services

Family Resource & Information Center (FRIC)

The Family Resource & Information Center or "FRIC" at Children's Hospital Oakland is here to answer your questions, provide you with resources, and help guide you through your time here with us. The FRIC offers a friendly and comfortable place for patients and families to go for research, recreation, and respite from hospital routine. Located across from the Friendly Café on the second floor, we encourage you to stop by.


  • Monday through Friday: 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Phone: (510) 428-3549

Quality and Safety

There is nothing more important to us than providing quality care to our patients in a safe and nurturing environment. In every encounter with every patient, our focus is on achieving the highest level of clinical quality and safety.

We are proud of our staff for the compassionate and personalized care they provide. This is a hallmark of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and why everything we do is driven by our commitment to quality and safety. Read more about how Benioff Children's promotes a culture of quality and safety.

Spiritual Care

Pastoral care offers spiritual support 24 hours a day to people of all traditions and those with no religious affiliation. Non-denominational pastoral care, grief counseling, and individual or family counseling is available to all patients and patient families.

Contact: Reverend Gillian Murphy-Stephans, MDIV, MPH
Phone: (510) 428-3885, Ext. 2676
Fax: (510) 601-3994

More: Pastoral Care

Language Interpreters

Medical interpreters are available to patients and families who are limited English speakers, deaf or hearing impaired. This service is free and available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Phone: (510) 428-3409 En Español: (510) 428-3885, Ext. 5292

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Patient Support and Services