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
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.
I’m all about cool toys to promote medical play with my patients. I recently found Pandora’s box of playmobile medical play sets and needless to say, I’m obsessed! I got the “Hospital Play Box” which resembles an OR to use on my surgery/ortho unit. They also have a bunch more like an X-ray room, pediatrician, and hospital.
Want to see other medical play toys I’m using? Check out my Amazon list!
You may remember that back in June I began providing coverage in NICU. While I am in no way a child life NICU expert, I wanted to share some tips and tricks in working with this unique population and their families. Luckily, my NICU already had a sibling program set in place when I arrived. Siblings ages 3-12 are able to visit their new baby brother/sister for 1 hour each day after completing the child life sibling program. I, of course, lead the sibling program where I go over why their baby is in the hospital, introduce medical play opportunities along with therapeutic activities, and orient them to the hospital. I then accompany the siblings to their baby’s room and help foster that first connection between the siblings. In doing these sibling visits I’ve witnessed some of the most tender, precious moments and I’m so thankful that I’m able to be a part of it.
Here are some of the things I use during my sibling visits
1. The Big Brother & Big Sister Guide to NICU; this is a workbook I made that goes over everything we need to cover during our sibling program. It includes pictures of things the siblings will see, a dictionary for things they may hear, the rules they must follow while in the NICU, and some therapeutics.
2. Big Sister/Big Brother Award; these I got for free on teacherspayteachers.com. I laminated them and then fill in the sibling and the baby’s name with sharpie; very official!
3. Baggie filled with medical play materials to take home.
5. I’m a big brother/ I’m a big sister stickers
6. “Your New Baby is Here!” coloring book. I found this coloring book on NATUS.com. Not only are they cute, printable, and developmentally appropriate but you can download them in 6 different languages!
7. (not pictured) gold medal to celebrate sibling for being a great big brother/sister.
For all of the resources mentioned above:
Click here for PDF printables: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1SgijvFCj2Yj5fqNK_eY_wG2D21qDNdUX
Click here for Must Have items for NICU Siblings: http://a.co/6fv0Eav
Novo nordisk has many incredible resources to help patients and healthcare providers learn/teach about diabetes. This is one of my personal favorite teaching materials for a new diabetes diagnosis. To view, click here.
By going onto their website, you can find many other fun, colorful, child friendly resources that are free and ready to print (click here to view). Not only do they have information for the patients/families, they also have a guide for healthcare professionals on how to provide this life changing information. This guide for healthcare professionals not only breaks down key messages to give the child but also key messages to give the child’s family/caregiver when addressing various topics. All of these resources on their webpage are available in English, French, Spanish, Swahili, and Amharic.
I am a huge fan of resources like these that are free and easily accessible for patients, families, and healthcare providers. I wish I had similar resources for everydiagnosis! Thank you Novo nordisk!
Currently one of my favorite resources to use with my pre-op patients is this surgery prep book from Katie Mense. It’s very kid friendly (non-threatening), easy to follow, and free to download! Download your copy by clicking the link below.
Asthma is a pretty common diagnosis, not just on the respiratory unit where I work, but everywhere! I had asthma as a kid and I know lots of other kids around me had it too. It was something pretty “normal” to me growing up and I never really thought twice about what it was, why I had it, and I loved that it came with the perk of not having to run the mile in P.E. Even while working in the ER, a chief complaint of asthma was not a high priority compared to everything else coming into the department (unless the patient had a very bad asthma attack).
Seeing more and more asthmatics come onto my unit now in the “winter” months down here in Miami, I began doing lots of research on different asthma education resources. I found tons of resources just by typing in “asthma education for children” in Google.
Here are just a few I found:
The list goes on and on and on, however, after a couple of asthma teachings using these resources, I felt like something was missing. I wanted to my patients to reach specific goals I had for them which were not always all covered by the resources I found.
My goals for my asthma lesson plan are:
- What part of the body is affected by asthma (lungs)
- How many lungs they have (you’ll be surprised how many older school aged kids have told me 1!)
- What happens when you have an asthma attack (bronchial tubes become tighter)
- What can cause an asthma attack (identifying triggers)
- How can you help lungs/airways feel better if you have asthma (long-term medicine/quick relief medicine)
- and what are the symptoms you might feel when you are in the green, yellow, or red zone (self-awareness)
I mixed some pages from various resources I found online and also created some pages myself to help me get my message across the way I feel is best for my patients. While creating my new asthma education packet, I still felt like I was missing an effective concrete example demonstrating the difference between healthy lungs and lungs experiencing an asthma attack. That’s when I created the activity below!
- While going over our asthma education packet, the patient and I cut out lungs from the packet (the best printable version of lungs I found were from this website: http://learncreatelove.com/printable-lungs-craft/ ).
- Then the patient and I will glue the lungs onto paper lunch bags. In an effort to save paper/materials, we make 1 lung with asthma and 1 lung without asthma vs 2 lungs with asthma and 2 lungs without asthma.
- After we glue the lungs onto the paper bag, we tape a smoothie straw into one lung and a cocktail straw into the other lung. I have the patient then blow into the healthy lung and suck the air out a few times. Then I have the patient blow into the lung with asthma and such the air out a few times as well. This way, the patient can clearly experience the difference in breathing and how it is much more difficult to breathe during an asthma attack than when lungs are healthy. *Check with the patient’s nurse before doing this activity to make sure the patient is clinically stable enough to do breathing exercises. You wouldn’t want to exacerbate them!*
- After this activity the patient and I then continue with the education packet (triggers, medicines, etc.)
There are TONS of resources on asthma out there – asthma books, asthma camps, asthma videos, asthma games…look on the child life forum too! As a reinforcer, I also created an asthma memory game to make patients more aware of common terminology usually associated with asthma (albuterol, pulmonologist, inhaler, spacer, etc.). I also encourage them to download (with their parent’s permission) an app called “Widzy pets” which centers around asthma education in a fun way.
What are some ways you help your patients learn about asthma?
Today is world diabetes day! I thought I’d share one of my favorite resources to teach patients about diabetes. American Girl makes these adorable diabetes care kits which our child life team is lucky enough to be able to give away (along with an American Girl doll) to our newly diagnosed patients. The kit serves as a great teaching tool by including: a daily log, an insulin pen, glucose pills, and more! I love using this kit as a guide while reviewing diabetes education with patients by seeing how much they know & answering any questions that may arise. What are some cool ways you teach patients about diabetes?
As any child life specialist knows, finding a doll with plastic hair is like finding a hidden gem! Due to infection control precautions, cloth dolls or dolls with hair (barbie) should not be used in between patients because they are not able to be properly cleaned/sanitized. I was so excited when I found this Aladdin for 2 reasons:
1. his plastic hair making him easy to clean and maintain
2. Aladdin is a boy making him more relatable and engaging for my boy patient’s
I placed a PICC line on him for now but who knows, maybe in the future, he’ll need an IV or help me demonstrate an OR prep or a breathing treatment. I am so excited to have him by my side!
You can find your own Aladdin doll on Amazon !
I found this hidden in my drafts & thought it would be great to post for today’s throwback Thursday! This was written about a year ago when I was still working in the pediatric emergency room. I love this post because stories like these happen all of the time thanks to child life specialists!
(The patient’s name has been changed for privacy.)
When I walked into 6-year-old Bettys room to do an IV teaching, she was nowhere in sight. I asked mom if she was in the bathroom when Betty started to scream from under the sink. (Side note: Can you imagine being so scared that you hide under a sink?! )”No!” “I don’t want the needle!” “You’re not going to pinch me!” I then crouched down and sat in front of Betty to introduce myself; “Hi, Betty – my name is Diane and I’m a Child Life Specialist. I don’t have any needles with me, but I did bring my bubbles. Do you like blowing bubbles?” Betty nodded. We started to blow bubbles and Betty hesitantly popped them from under the sink. After a little, I said “why don’t you come out from under the sink so that you can pop them better… I’ll make a big one for you!” “Okay!” Betty said & came right out from under the sink.
As we continued to pop bubbles, I started to ask Betty about her hospital experience. It was her first time, she felt very sick, and she was very worried they might give her a shot. I validated her feelings and then began to talk to Betty about the different ways we were going to help her feel better while she was in the hospital. I told her about the urine test she did, the flu test she did, the strep test she did, and about her upcoming IV. Betty was now aware that the IV meant that there was going to be a “pinch” involved and that the most important rule for getting her IV was that she could not move her arm because her veins (aka, blue tunnels) are very slippery. Betty also made the decision to play on the iPad while they started her IV so that she didn’t have to watch, and she wanted her nurse to count to 3 before the pinch.
Our plan was in place. I told Betty I would go let her nurse know that she was ready and she nodded & hopped up on the bed. Betty did GREAT with her IV, you would have never thought she was hiding under the sink screaming just 10 minutes before. I was so proud of her and how brave she was with getting her IV!