Hospital promotes emotional aspect of care for children with illnesses
COLUMBIA – The MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital is spotlighting its Child Life Care program with an awareness month throughout March. The hospital looks to share stories and accounts of children with illnesses and the specialists who treat them. The goal is to highlight how important the emotional side of care.
Eight-year-old Olivia Kropp is a patient at the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital and interacts frequently with its Child Life Specialists.
“They make me happy, they make me happy when I have to get IV’s and like tubes, they distract me from that,” Kropp said.
The specialists use many methods to distract young patients from the unpleasantness of certain treatments.
“Child Life’s whole goal in the hospital is to help kids cope with this environment. It obviously can be very stressful. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, it just gets even harder the younger you are. We would like to do what we can to make the hospital an OK place for kids,” specialist Corrine Joplin said.
The Child Life Program feature sa playroom with many games, toys, and books. There is also an education component in which specialists use visual aids and interactive learning to help explain some of the medical processes to the children.
Joplin said those are called therapeutic activities. Specialists use dolls sometimes to show what the treatment can look like, whether it be IV’s or tubes.
“It gives them control back, lets them manipulate those materials in a safe way,” Joplin said.
The patients have said it helps them understand and become more comfortable with what they experience in treatment.
“We have this little doll and she let me put the IV in it and then I put tape on it and then we put the tube on the doll’s nose like mine,” Kropp said.
The hospital said it hopes to continue to improve and increase the amount of emotional support for younger patients.