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.
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!
At the end of this month I will be spending the weekend volunteering at Camp Erin – a bereavement camp for children. This past weekend we had a pre-camp pizza party to meet all of the campers, their families, and help reduce some of that pre-camp anxiety that usually builds in the weeks before sleep-away camp. We had a lot of fun at our pizza party – we played games, got to know each other, had pizza (of course), and sang songs while the veteran volunteers spoke to the parents/caregivers about specifics about camp. When speaking to one of the 6-year-old girls in my group, she told me all about this Elmo video she watched that “explained about when people die and that it’s okay to cry”. This Elmo grief video rang a bell, but I decided to do some more research when I got home. Turns out, Sesame Street offers their resources for free to download online, in English and Spanish! This is such an incredible resource to know about when dealing with bereavement and grief with children. Thank you, chatty little 6-year-old!