Enema prep

Enemas are usually scary and highly uncomfortable, especially for our younger warriors. While looking around our supply closet for something I could use for medical play, I found this baby alive doll! This particular doll can be fed play-doh through her mouth & the play doh falls right through her out of her bum. The opening on her bum is also large enough to place an enema, so perfect for my intervention!

During the medical play session my warrior and I had so much fun feeding baby Emily (my baby alive doll) a big serving of play-doh. However, Emily then became constipated and needed some help in getting all that poo out. When I asked my warrior how we could help her he suggested we put some water in her bum to help it all come out. While we were doing this I suggested Emily could blow bubbles while the water was going in to help keep her calm and distracted. He thought this was a great idea.

We did this again and again and again; who knew playing with enemas could be fun?!

Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin’ Lily (Blonde) (Amazon Exclusive) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0125KRB04/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_6c2gDb4X5GAKS

Pill Swallowing

Teaching patients how to swallow pills is a life long skill that comes in very handy even after discharge. While it may take a lot of practice, getting the ball rolling in learning how to master this skill is very important for our warriors.

Here are some of my favorite tips & tricks which I’ve found to work (sources listed below).

I also use my pill swallowing kit which includes various sized candies to practice with (always check with RN and parents before giving food to patients).

For even more tips & tricks on pill swallowing techniques, click the sources below.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201501/tips-and-tricks-help-your-kids-swallow-pills

http://www.ctvnews.ca/trouble-swallowing-a-pill-it-s-all-in-the-head-tilt-1.522207

http://research4kids.ucalgary.ca/pill-study

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201501/tips-and-tricks-help-your-kids-swallow-pills

http://www.ctvnews.ca/trouble-swallowing-a-pill-it-s-all-in-the-head-tilt-1.522207

http://research4kids.ucalgary.ca/pill-study

LEGO feelings

When one of my school aged patients was having a hard time coping with his hospital stay, I knew it was time for a therapeutic activity. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do with him, but I did know some things; I knew my goal was for him to explore his feelings, I knew he liked legos, I knew he had a hard time with his previous hospitalizations. I had my practicum student with me on this day & together, she and I hit the drawing board (aka Pinterest) to try and develop an activity to match our goals & his interests.

We found this amazing LEGO feelings worksheet on teacherspayteachers.com – for free! Then, we split up some LEGO packs according to color. I also brought my Inside Out figurines to help reinforce the connection between colors & emotions.

When we brought this to our little warrior, he was eager to play! We went over each emotion & gave examples of times we each felt that way. Then we guided him to assign the emotions to different colors.

When it came time to build, there was a lot of redirection needed to keep that connection between colors & emotions; that’s when my Inside Out characters came to help! Our warrior began to mindfully build with intention; focusing on different emotions & giving examples of times in his life he felt that way.

“I see you used a red lego; what emotion goes with red? What’s something that makes you feel that way?”

By the end of the activity, my little warrior had build a nifty little race car built from all of these different emotions. This was such a fun activity for all of us! It provided my student and I a window into how he was feeling, promoted rapport building and normalization of the medical environment through play, and gave us the opportunity to address any fears/misconceptions he may have as well as validate his feelings. After the activity he was of course able to engage in free play with his LEGO pieces; with or without emotions involved.

Additional certifications after CCLS

One of my wonderful readers reached out to me to ask what other certifications can a CCLS attain that will complement their role as a CCLS. I only knew of a couple of additional certifications so I reached out to all of my followers on Instagram for their input. Thanks to all of you guys, I was able to compile this list to share! Enjoy!

Playroom fun!

I recently got the gift of having a playroom on my unit! My new playroom has this big dry-erase wall which I was the most excited for. I turned it into an inspiration wall, this way my warriors can come by and pick out some words of wisdom to help them cope during their stay. There are also blank magnetic pads in case they want to leave some inspiration behind for others.

My playroom has blessed me with tons of storage space, two tables (a mini table for younger kids and a bigger table for older kids), a television, and there’s even a couch in there. I am still working on the set up and getting my playroom stocked & ready – I cannot wait for the grand opening.

For a list of more fun things I’m adding to my new playroom, check out my amazon.com list!

Link: http://a.co/5jFJ3qx

What fun things do you have in your playroom?!

Favorite Find of the Month

Good, ol’fashioned Duck Tape!

Many of the warriors I see are stuck with medical equipment after surgery to help them recover. Crutches, walkers, #halo traction , you name it! In an effort to make their gear a little fun and personalized, I keep a drawer full of Duck Tape.

Decorating their medical equipment is not just fun, it offers my warriors choices – which is HUGE in the hospital where many of the things happening to them isn’t a choice. This may result in negative feelings like anger or frustration, and it may even reach a point where they feel they have no control over their own lives. Offering choices, even as small as “how do you want to decorate your walker”, makes a difference & empowers patients.

What supplies have you used to help patients decorate their gear?

Child life month 2018

As always, this child life month my team and I had tons of fun providing child life magic to our patients, families, staff, and our own department! Here’s a list of some of the things we did:

  • Set up a display cabinet in our hospital’s main hallway with photos printed on canvases depicting what child life is all about
  • Created fun events for patients and families through out the month including a kick off carnival, teddy bear clinic, and child life birthday party.
  • Went to each unit with a spin the wheel game for staff. Staff were encouraged to participate and answer child life trivia correctly. If they did, they were given a distraction badge buddy and bubbles and entered into a raffle for a small duffel bag filled with child life goodies!
  • Engaged our own department in a “secret santa” type of activity through out the month where we left our buddy small clues and gifts throughout the month of March ending in a big reveal (shout out to Hayley for coming up with this!)
  • Team lunch provided by our amazingly supportive and inspiring leadership team

What are some fun things your team did for child life month?

Distraction

During my internship, my supervisors would often challenge me to provide distraction for patients without using an iPad. I’d often shrug it off because, in the rush of getting called for a procedure while they’re already setting up, the patient already crying and tension rising, the iPad 9 times out of 10 would work like magic.

I love iPads for distraction! They’re big so they cover the view of the procedure. They’re interactive which promotes distraction, kids use them at home which promotes normalization, you can easily sanitize them, c’mon! Well, fast forward 1 month after my internship when I began my first job as a CCLS in the emergency department, not only did I not have an iPad, but I wasn’t approved to use an iPad even if I had one!

I spent 10 months working in the ER without an iPad and boy, did I become creative in my distraction interventions! It was during this time that I saw the real magic of child life. You guys, I once distracted a 2-year-old for an IV start with them laying on the bed alone by reading a sound book! Honest! I have witnesses! No one in the room, including the 2-year-old patient, could believe the #childlifemagic that happened that night.

Don’t get me wrong, as soon as I got approval for an iPad I surely put it to good use, but the tricks I learned during those 10 months of being iPad-less in a busy ER gave me confidence. I remember a great CCLS once told me that to be a CCLS you do not need anything but the head on your shoulders; “bubbles, toys, and gadgets help of course, but the only thing you need to be a CCLS is your knowledge and understanding of child life theory and practice.”  In hindsight, I now understand that this is very true! All that work and practice sans iPad gave me the confidence to be a CCLS that is called into a room with nothing but a dry erase marker in her pocket and doesn’t even think twice about going in.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite distraction itemsMusthaveDISTRACTIONitems.jpg

  1. Bubbles – classic
  2. Sound Books – great for toddlers/preschoolers
  3. Buzzy Bee Distraction Cards – I got a pack of these in my welcome bag at the 2017 FACLP conference. I use it all the time – definitely must have!
  4. Melissa & Doug Reusable Stickers – These are puffy too so no need to worry about them ripping
  5. Light Spinner – classic
  6. Find It – one of my forever favorites
  7. I Spy books – love these which you can find for different age groups in TONS of different character themes
  8. Bright Beats – coolest toy in the toy box! Very interactive, colorful, and musical. Great for toddlers

For a full list of my must-have distraction items, follow the link to my Amazon wishlist: http://a.co/6gscxMo

Again, I love using my iPad as a tool for distraction. It’s an incredible resource and has kept my patients calm and coping during difficult procedures. I have tons of go to apps but as for my favorite iPad app right now I’d definitely have to say the Spellbound app!

I was able to get my hands on a couple of augmented reality cards made by Spellbound. I love technology and was a huge fan of Pokémon Go so I was definitely looking forward to using Spellbound with my patients.

First & foremost, cards are made of wipeable material so you can sanitize in between use; YAY! Set up for the app was very easy – just download the app, enter your email, allow camera access, & you’re ready to see into another world.

My demo came with three cards and kept me and my patient completely distracted throughout an entire IV start and a little while afterward. I can definitely see how having a whole deck of these cards can lead to very distracted patients.

For more information on Spellbound AR follow the link to their website: http://spellboundar.com/

 

What are some of your favorite distraction tools?