If you ever have to be in the hospital with kids, you may have a Child Life Specialist.
This photo may look familiar to some of you who spend time at the hospital. This is one of our breakfasts in the Emergency Department (after being there for over 4 hours). You can tell which one of us has high cholesterol.....
I get oatmeal and Hubby gets scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns.
Such is life!
But back to the kids. Once they would take one of the kids from the Emergency Department upstairs to Pediatrics, we would meet Child Life Specialist.
We got to know Child Life Specialist REALLY well. For those of you that are regular readers, you know that my kids were hospitalized 12 times for asthma when they were little (2 of those were ICU.)
The hospital can be a VERY scary place for kids (and for parents!) One of the worst parts is when they try to get an IV in the kid's arm. It can be really hard to do when the kids are dehydrated or their oxygen level is low. The nurses would tell us that their veins weren't very "plump", because their oxygen level was so low, so it was hard to get the IV in.
If any of you have had to get an IV, you know what a super fun experience it can be. Try doing that to a sick kid and have the nurse try to move the IV around to try to get it in the vein just right.
Child Life Specialist would come into the triage room and try to distract the kids. She would blow bubbles, show them funny things, play music - anything to distract them.
Once we were assigned a room on the Pediatrics Floor, she would come visit us to see what my son or daughter liked. Then she would come back with art supplies, video games, snacks, all sorts of stuff to try to make their stay at the hospital a little better.
Child Life Specialist would make sure we understood what was available - pizza on Friday nights, location and hours of the cafeteria and snack bar, play room for the kids while their brother or sister came to see them, a sleep room for parents, how late the valet parking was available and where to get my keys if I left the hospital late at night, even a room for me to use my breast pump.
We LOVED our Child Life Specialist!
Child Life Specialist would generally try to soothe feelings and make our stay as best as it could be.
Here's their job description from the Association of Child Life Specialists:
"....provide evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation and education that reduce fear, anxiety, and pain for infants, children, and youth."
She was a friendly face every time we were in the hospital, and she made our stay a little less scary.
Check out your local hospital and see if they have a Child Life Specialist. They can help make a very scary experience just a little bit better.
Anyone else have a good experience with a Child Life Specialist?