Rooming-in: Staying with the child in hospital

It is a great support for sick children when mom or dad come with them to the hospital. However, statutory health insurance does not always cover the costs. Private supplementary hospital insurance can also cover rooming-in.

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Rooming-in: Meaning

The term rooming-in refers to the accommodation of an accompanying person in a patient's room, usually a child. This is because many children simply get better faster when they have their mom or dad nearby. However, statutory health insurance does not always cover the costs of this - only rooming-in after the birth, i.e. accommodation for mother and baby together, is covered by health insurance. With our private supplementary hospital insurance with rooming-in, you can make provisions for the worst-case scenario and accompany your baby to hospital. With ottonova supplementary hospital insurance, rooming-in is included for children up to the age of twelve.

Rooming-in: Accompanying someone to hospital

Let's be honest: a stay in hospital is never a pleasant experience. It can make you feel uneasy, even as an adult. 

How do children who are in hospital after an accident or an operation feel? Sure, the doctors and nurses put a lot of effort into their little patients, but of course they can't replace mom and dad. This is where rooming-in comes into play.

The term refers to the inpatient admission of a parent so that the children can feel safe and secure during their stay in hospital and thus recover more quickly. We take a closer look at the topic of "parental accompaniment to hospital": What are the advantages of rooming-in? How much does it cost for parents to stay with their child in hospital? What about the assumption of costs for rooming-in - does the health insurance pay or do you have to take out extra insurance for rooming-in?

Benefits of Rooming-in

Rooming-in offers benefits for both mother and child. Here are several reasons why:

For new mothers, particularly, the transition to motherhood can be overwhelming. Rooming-in provides an opportunity for you to gain confidence in caring for your newborn. It enables you to become attuned to your baby's signals, helping you understand when they are tired or hungry. This familiarity will prove invaluable once you leave the hospital.

Having your baby in the room with you can actually improve your sleep quality. While labor is physically demanding, looking after a newborn often disrupts sleep patterns. 

Surprisingly, having your baby nearby doesn't necessarily impede rest; in fact, it can facilitate it. According to the Cleveland Clinic, mothers tend to get the same amount of rest whether the baby is in the room or in the nursery. Furthermore, having your baby nearby allows you to acclimate to each other's routines and encourages the development of a regular sleep cycle for your baby, which will be beneficial for you when you attempt to rest between feedings.

Research indicates that mothers who room-in are less likely to experience postpartum depression.

Rooming-in promotes increased skin-to-skin contact between mother and the baby, which is crucial for their health. Exposure to the natural bacteria on your skin can bolster their immune system and safeguard them from illness. By observing the baby's behaviors closely, you can address any concerns or questions with our healthcare providers while still in the hospital.

Babies who room-in typically exhibit more stable body temperatures and blood sugar levels, along with reduced stress hormone levels. Additionally, they tend to be more content, resulting in less crying and a more peaceful environment for both mother and child.

Rooming-in after birth

Rooming-in is now standard after birth. Newborns are no longer accommodated in a separate baby room after delivery, as used to be the case, but sleep in their mother's room. The baby's crib is often placed right next to the mother's bed so that she can look after her child right from the start. This strengthens the bond between the two of them. 

What's more, after discharge, the start of family life at home is easier if mother and child have already spent a lot of time together in hospital. In addition, babies are generally calmer and cry less when they are allowed to be close to their mother. If the birth was very stressful, partial rooming-in is also possible: in this case, the baby only spends a few hours a day with the mother to give her time to recover. In the meantime, the hospital staff look after the newborn.

Both 24-hour rooming-in and partial rooming-in after the birth are covered by statutory health insurance. After all, both mother and child are patients in hospital, which justifies the costs being covered by statutory health insurance.

The situation is different when older children have to be hospitalized. Although the Gesellschaft der Kinderkrankenhäuser und Kinderabteilungen in Deutschland e.V. (GKinD) recommends that young patients up to the age of nine should not be left alone in hospital, statutory health insurance companies are not obliged to cover the costs of rooming-in.

Rooming-in with GKV: What does the statutory health insurance company pay?

In many cases, however, statutory health insurance will still cover the costs, especially if the treating doctor certifies the necessity of rooming in.

For example, it may be advisable to accompany the child to the hospital if treatment is not possible without parental support. Or if there is a risk of psychological damage if the child has to stay alone. Depending on the hospital and the availability of rooms, the accompanying person will then be accommodated directly in the child's room or very close to the child. There may be other patients sleeping in the same room. Regular visits to the young patient are an alternative to rooming-in: For this, the parents can stay close to the hospital or rehab facility, for example in a guesthouse.

Rooming-in at the hospital: also possible for adults?

Young children in particular benefit from not being left alone in a hospital. After all, many children have never been separated from their parents - and the unfamiliar surroundings in the hospital can be quite scary. In such cases, the presence of mom and/or dad alleviates anxiety and can be a valuable support for the recovery process. However, a supportive companion in a hospital can also be useful for adults undergoing inpatient treatment - for example, if the patient suffers from dementia and finds it difficult to manage on their own. 

Statutory health insurance and many private health insurers will also cover rooming-in in this case if there is a proven medical, therapeutic, or psychological need for it.

By the way, you don't have to be related to the patient to accompany them to the hospital. The main thing is that you are close and that they can relax in your presence.

Rooming-in with private health insurance: What does private health insurance pay for?

Whether private health insurance covers rooming-in is regulated individually in the various tariffs. In ottonova's private health insurance, the costs for the person who accompanies a child up to the age of 14 are included.

But what costs are we talking about here? How much does it cost to support someone as an accompanying person in hospital?

The prices for accommodation and meals for the accompanying person vary depending on the hospital, but are roughly the same as for a stay in a mid-range hotel. It can therefore quickly add up if the child has to stay longer in hospital and the statutory health insurance does not pay for the accompanying person.

It can therefore make sense to take out private supplementary hospital insurance that covers rooming-in. With ottonova supplementary hospital insurance, the "rooming-in" benefit is included and applies to children up to the age of twelve. There are no restrictions on the length of stay.

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Difference between bedding-in and rooming-in

Rooming-in: is a well-established practice in maternity care where the newborn stays in the same room as the mother rather than being placed in a separate nursery. This approach is recognized for its benefits in promoting bonding between mother and child, facilitating breastfeeding, and allowing for immediate response to the baby's needs.

Health insurance policies that cover maternity care often include rooming-in services, acknowledging its importance for the health and well-being of both mother and child. The specifics of coverage can vary significantly between different health insurance plans, with some policies covering the entire cost of rooming-in, while others may offer partial coverage or require a co-payment.

The term "bedding in" does not have a standardized definition or application in the context of health insurance or maternity care. Instead, the correct term contrasting with "rooming-in" would be something like "traditional nursery care", where the baby is taken to a nursery away from the mother for most of the time, with scheduled visitations for feeding and bonding. This model is less favored in current maternity care practices due to the numerous benefits associated with rooming-in.

In summary, the main difference lies not between "bedding in" and "rooming in" but between rooming-in and traditional nursery care. Rooming-in supports immediate and continuous proximity and interaction between the newborn and the mother, a practice supported and sometimes covered by health insurance policies due to its positive impacts on health outcomes. Conversely, traditional nursery care, where the baby and mother are separated, is increasingly seen as less beneficial for both parties and is becoming less common in hospitals that promote family-centered care. Health insurance coverage for maternity care, including rooming-in, depends on the specific policy details, and expectant parents need to review their health insurance plan or consult with their provider to understand what maternity care services are covered.

Marie-Theres Rüttiger
HIER SCHREIBT Marie-Theres Rüttiger

Marie-Theres is online editor for health and insurance topics at ottonova. She researches and writes mainly about private health insurance, (e-)health and digital innovation that make life better.

ottonova sales experts
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