A hospital stay can be a very daunting experience, surgery can be an incredibly stressful and scary experience, even for the toughest of us who know exactly what to expect. However, doctors at one medical center in California have come up with a way to calm the nerves of their young patients and it’s helping parents too.
The children’s hospital has employed child-life specialists trained in child psychology and development to make changes that will make children feel more at ease. Over the last twenty years this department has been transforming the way children feel about hospital stays.
“There are some kids that are excited to be here. There are some kids that are really really scared and don’t even want to come in the door, stand on the scale, put on a bracelet,” said Michelle Barksdale, one of the child-life specialists.
“We have all developmental ages and ranges of emotions.” Michelle explained that because kids have different needs than adults, they need to be handled differently in these processes.
The cars have a stereo which has a variety of uplifting preloaded music and an MP3 player, as well as functioning headlights, taillights and dashboard lights, Nurse Martinez said.
They are designed for kids aged 2 to 7 years old and are very safe with working doors, a seatbelt and a horn.
The waiting room is one place for those fears to dissipate. It appears more like a game room, with interactive activities for children of all ages.
“So, this is kind of one of those things that keeps their mind off everything before they have to go back,” explains pediatric ER registered nurse Haley Franks. “Especially if they have any kind of procedures or anything, they are able to kind of play out here in the lobby and have some fun while they’re waiting.”
Then there’s transport to surgery. Kids get to ride into surgery with a toy car. They even get their own license to drive!
Pre-op coordinator Amanda Rochowiak adds that when the kids are at ease, so are their families. “It makes it easier on that transition for the parent as well as the child. Because they know the child is not scared, they’re not crying, they’re not leaving them in a fearful state.”
Take a look at the video below to find out more about what this incredible children’s hospital is doing to help their patients feel comfortable!
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