Child life month

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Child life month is well underway! One of the fun things we set up for our patients and families so far was a child life month kick off carnival. Some of the fun activities we offered were: 

A medical myster box

Saline bag toss


And spin the wheel


We also had additional games and of course, prizes, music, and even the hospital clowns came down and paid us a visit!

How have you kicked off child life month at your hospital?

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Helping non-verbal patients have a voice

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I recently had a patient that was unable to speak after a surgical procedure. She was developmentally appropriate and had no prior history of hospitalization so all of this was new and very frustrating for her. Her nurses came to me asking for help because she was having a very hard time communicating with them.

Here’s what I knew: she enjoyed playing on the iPad but did not have the strength to hold it up to type, she didn’t have the fine motor skills she once had to be able to use a marker/paper to write, and she had no family at his bedside to speak for her. I began to think of what she can do rather than what she can’t…. that’s when my creativity light bulb lit up! I created  a communication chart for her.

One thing that she could do is move her arm/hand around and point. That was perfect! I found a chart with a couple of key phrases and emotions on it via google images by searching “communication chart”. I also created an empty template for her and her nurses to include more personalized phrases. I put both sheets into a sheet protector with a piece of cardboard in between so that it was sturdy and ta-dah!

My patient and the medical team working with her loved this communication chart and it truly helped her have a voice again.

 

Favorite Find of the Month

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I first learned about the child life profession when one of my child development professors my junior year of college very briefly mentioned it during one of his lectures. I jotted down “child life specialist” on the corner of my notebook and googled it when I got home. As soon as I looked it up, I knew this was it! I read every single word written on the entire child life council website but I still wanted more! I wanted to know what a typical day looked like for a CLS, I wanted to see pictures of their workspace, I wanted as much information as I could get to feel confident in my decision to pursue this career. I didn’t find what I was looking for that day so I started adventures in child life in hopes of providing others with what I was looking for at the start of my adventure. 

It’s no secret that becoming a certified child life specialist is a lot of work! And how can you be sure that you’re ready to do all that it takes to become a child life specialist when you’ve never even seen what the job entails first hand? I get a lot of e-mails from people interested in the field asking me how they can be sure child life is for them before they dive in. I often asked myself this question too during the early stages of my adventure. I realized that child life was for me by truly understanding what the job entailed and see the magic first hand during my time volunteering, my practicum, my internship, and even during as a professional. This brings me to my favorite find of the month:

 

John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida will be hosting a seminar for those interested in learning more about the child life profession. This seminar will include a panel discussion with child life staff, information about education options & certification requirements, a hospital tour, and exposure to therapeutic activities. There are two seminars left this year – one will take place on July 27th and the other on November 16th. Space is limited to 25 participants per seminar so make sure and register online ASAP!

To see the flyer for the event, click here https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/getmedia/792ad66a-178e-43b5-9116-8ccb6f983e9c/DayInTheLife

Kid Flicks

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Kidflicks.org is an AMAZING organization that donates movie libraries (100 DVDs) to hospitals around the world! They’ve been donating DVDs to children’s hospitals since 2002 and have donated to 750 hospitals as of May 2014! Follow the link below to read their full story & show your support 🙂

 

http://www.kidflicks.org

X-Ray prep

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Being that I work in the emergency room I am constantly prepping little ones to go get an X-Ray done. Luckily, my amazing co-worker, Caroline, shared one of her X-Ray prepping techniques with me!

The book Cooper Gets An X-Ray is great because it shows colorful, child friendly pictures of what an X-Ray machine looks like, explains that the machine can be moved around, shows examples of the “heavy vests” one might wear, sounds you may hear, and it also shows that a light may shine on them when taking the picture.

I also use that little camera to explain to my concrete-thinkers that if we were to take a picture of them with that camera we would only be able to see the outside of their bodies – to be able to see the inside, we need to use the X-Ray camera.

Cooper Gets an X-Ray by Karen Olson http://www.amazon.com/dp/0939838850/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_XeCmtb1EGE4GF

Ella – a friend of Barbie

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Last weekend I attended a regional Child Life conference and actually won a raffle bag! One of the things inside my goody bag was this friend of Barbie, Ella. Ella has lost her her due to chemotherapy treatments and has many different accessories she can put on her head (wigs, headband, bandanas, etc). She was made my Mattel and is exclusively distributed to children’s hospitals treating children with cancer.

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‘Medical play’ helps young patients heal

Child life specialists are acknowledged by the American Academy of Pediatrics as being a vital part of care to children, to meet their emotional, psychological and social needs, said Gwen Senio, manager of child life programs at UI Children’s Hospital.

“We really recognize that kids have unique needs that need to be addressed during health care experiences,” she said. “Because so much of hospitalization can be a big unknown, this is helping to take that away, to help them understand the experiences.”

Full Story: http://thegazette.com/2013/04/13/medical-play-helps-young-patients-heal/