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 items
- Bubbles – classic
- Sound Books – great for toddlers/preschoolers
- 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!
- Melissa & Doug Reusable Stickers – These are puffy too so no need to worry about them ripping
- Light Spinner – classic
- Find It – one of my forever favorites
- I Spy books – love these which you can find for different age groups in TONS of different character themes
- 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?