I have mentioned before how much we adore UCLA’s medical facility. Both the hospital and the outpatient services. We have been inpatient at the Mattel Children’s Hospital three times and Kyllian has five specialists we see on the regular for various conditions.
Our inpatient visits have been a total of 5 nights. Although spending the night in the hospital is no where near a 4 star hotel, UCLA does it’s best to accommodate. In room menu for food service if you don’t make it down to the cafeteria offering everything under the sun. Pull out couch and reclining chair in each room. Full bathrooms in each room. Cable TV’s with DVD’s and/or gaming systems in each room. Nurses check on you as well as the patient asking what they can do for you. Bring coffee, watch your child while you shower, go on a walk, catch some fresh air, and so on. Some may think that is standard protocol, but you would be surprised.
One of my favorite things that immediately stood out was the Chase Child Life Program. Hospitals can be a confusing and frightening environment. Chase Child Life Program eases that fear by familiarizing young children, adolescents and their families with the hospital experience. For nearly four decades, this program has been a pioneer and a national model for how to appropriately address the social, emotional and developmental needs of each child and his/her family in a culturally sensitive manner.
Services Provided by Chase Child Life Program are as follows:
- Pre-hospitalization visits for children and their families
- Preparation for medical procedures, support during procedures and post-procedural medical play
- Therapeutic intervention-including music therapy and play to help children cope with issues related to their illness and medical care
- Consultation with caregivers, siblings and children of adult patients to enhance their understanding of the impact of illness on the child and family
- Supervision of playroom, Starlight Room/Teen Lounge and outpatient play areas
- Expert consultation for caregivers and medical team members regarding child development and related issues
- Special events that entertain and engage children and families
- Assistance in transitioning from hospital to home and/or school following an illness
- Coordination and supervision of the Family Resource Room
Child Life Specialists use age-appropriate techniques to prepare children for upcoming medical procedures, presenting information honestly and with examples that a child can understand. Children may try on a mask and gown or lie on a hospital gurney to learn how it feels. Child Life Specialists may use a medical kit, books, dolls and other models while explaining a procedure, giving children a greater sense of control.
Child Life Specialists also spend time with parents and other family members before and during procedures, and afterward they organize therapeutic play and educational programs to help children to develop positive coping skills during their recovery.
Community volunteers are an important part of Chase Child Life Program, helping to coordinate special events and arts-and-crafts or other projects. And they are available to play a video game, read a story or simply sit at a child’s bedside to provide comfort and companionship.
The program also has play rooms and patios for children and parents to escape their hospital bedrooms and feel normal again. If a child is unable to sneak away toys and other forms of entertainment are brought to the rooms. Volunteers check on patients daily in their rooms to offer toys for entertainment and comfort. We were offered crib toys for Kyllian, for example.
There is also a break room for parents with books, magazines, knitting tools, music, etc. The Chase Child Life Program provides aid for parents as well. Volunteers also bring a cart by each room daily to offer healthy snacks to parents who may have been too busy to sneak away for a bite to eat.
Chase Child Life Program does not charge for its services. The workers are all volunteers and the play items are all donated. Last Christmas Nic and I decided to forgo gifts and donate items to this program instead. We plan on doing it again this holiday season. (Sorry Family!)
We have been picking up items since the beginning of the year as we see fit. Our gifts are used year round for children hospitalized for only one night or long term. I am here today to ask you to do the same. It does not need to be expensive or fancy. For example, coloring books, puzzles, crayons, and bubbles are sold at any dollar store!
If you are interested, please click HERE to learn more about the program and view the complete wish list.
Some times on the 2016 wish list are as follows:
- Infant / Toddlers: crib toys, sensory toys, boppy pillows
- Pre-School / Elementary School Age: legos, crayons, dolls
- Young Adults, age 13+: playing cards, dvd’s, video games
- Books: for all ages. parents too.
- Puzzles: for all ages
- Board Games
- Arts n Crafts
If you are in Bakersfield I would be happy to collect your donations. If you are in LA, I encourage you to drop off your donations to UCLA directly. If you are in any other city with a children’s hospital, please contact them to see if they have a similar program.
We have been blessed by the fantastic care at UCLA and only wish to pay it forward. This is a good cause if you are looking to do the same.
THANK YOU ALL!!