“Hospital Highlights” is a publicly available section on the website that is intended to highlight new and/or innovative aspects of member programs. Examples might include novel approaches to a common theme or issue or might compare two hospitals who have different approaches to a similar need (e.g., different approaches to pre-operative tours).
Hospital highlights can also be a space to share new approaches or positions in non-traditional settings.
The quintessential summer camp experience came to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital (HCH) last week with its first-ever Camp Adventure Week. Held from July 29 to August 2, patients at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital—34th Street enjoyed an interactive week full of games, crafts, sing-alongs, and lots of smiles. (Pictured left, Laura Biagiotti (far right) creative arts therapist, leads a group sing-along for Camp Adventure Week.)
The week began with a joyful opening ceremony where children gathered round a paper campfire for a sing-along and smore-making. Large prints of trees and woods draped the walls of the seventh floor of Hassenfeld Children's Hospital—34th Street to create a sense of nature.
Throughout the week, patients and siblings continued to enjoy classic summertime activities, including a scavenger hunt, tie-dye and crafting, movie night, and stargazing at a planetarium. A summer camp staple– field day–came on Wednesday, bringing the children bug-themed snacks, outdoor games, summer bingo, and a silk screening t-shirt activity.
“My daughter has been able to attend pretty much every event this week, and it’s been a blast,” said Tonesha Washington, mother of a current HCH patient. “I think it’s a wonderful idea for the children to have a distraction and a bit of fun while they are here.”
Patients who couldn’t attend in person were still able to take part in the fun by participating in many of the activities broadcast live via Skyline TV, the new HCH channel on the in-room MyWall monitor.
The week wrapped up on Friday with Slime Day, where children learned how to make slime before pouring it on members of NYU Langone staff and local clown Looney Lenny.
The Hugs for Brady Child Life Preparation Program (HFBCLPP) at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is a patient-and-family-centered care program that works to address the psychosocial needs of children and their families who undergo non-sedation Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies. Child life services and the HFBCLPP were integrated into the pediatric radiology department in 2013 as part of a hospital-wide initiative to reduce the amount of anesthesia-MRIs. A multi-sensory program individualized to fit the needs of each patient and family, the HFBCLPP gained national recognition when it was featured on The Today Show in March of 2015. A miniature mock-MRI machine, movie goggles/headphones, and an educational video are a few of the resources used in the program to enhance patient understanding and coping.
Two Internal Review Board-approved research studies were generated as a result of NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital’s non-anesthesia MRI initiative; both of the studies list the contributing certified child life specialist, Tina DiMartino, as a co-author. The first study is a retrospective analysis, examining the HFBCLPP’s impact on certain value-based metrics and its overall efficacy in reducing anesthesia-MRIs. The second study is a randomized control trial, examining the impact of video-based education on levels of distress and understanding among non-anesthesia MRI patients. The educational video is an interdisciplinary collaboration, created by the radiology department and produced internally; the video is available to the general public on the NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital website, as well as on YouTube.
We are excited to welcome Professor Bunsen Honeydew, the newest employee in the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department! Professor does more than play fetch and cuddle, he serves as Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai’s first-ever facility dog. Paws and Play, supported by PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, is also the first facility dog program of its kind in New York State.
Professor is a full-time employee in the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department and works directly with primary handler Ali Spike, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and secondary handler Toshiko Nonaka, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).
What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a goal directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process and is recognized as a therapeutic form of treatment. Ali Spike and Toshiko Nonaka work with Professor to support a variety of clinical needs including pain management, procedural support, socialization, motivation, and of course PLAY!
About Professor Bunsen Honeydew
Professor is a golden doodle, a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, and came to Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai from Canine Assistants, in Alpharetta, GA. Professor is 18 months old and has been through a bond-based training program in preparation to serve as a key member of the Kravis Children’s Hospital’s treatment team. Professor was named after Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, who is an inventor and scientist character from The Muppet Show. When he is not supporting our patients, families and staff, Professor enjoys taking naps on the couch, playing outside with his handlers and learning new tricks!
Program Mission & Clinical Vision
The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department is integrating Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) into clinical practice with the introduction of Professor. The Facility Dog will be based out of the outpatient hematology/oncology clinic and will respond to referrals for consults from psycho-social staff and medical team members. The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) handlers will prioritize patient needs and formulate interventions with clearly defined objectives. Treatment plans will be designed to improve the patient’s social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning while increasing overall coping and adjustment.
The STAR program at Winthrop University Hospital helps create a safe haven for care for children with special needs. The program was developed to assist families of children 18 years old and under with Down Syndrome or children on the autism spectrum by providing knowledge and positive coping strategies throughout the hospital experience. STAR’s mission is to provide the highest quality care to all children in a compassionate, family-centered, coordinated care environment. The program streamlines kids’ care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings and aims to maximize our patient's success rate while empowering the child and their family to advocate for their specific needs. The main component of the program is that it is patient driven; once enrolled families notify the STAR phone a few days prior to an inpatient or outpatient visit/procedure or on their way to the emergency room so that staff can create a “game plan”.
STAR works directly with the Child Life Program, which provides a Child Life Specialist to offer a tailored service to each enrolled STAR patient and help navigate the patient in need. A child life specialist reaches out directly to the families and patients and coordinates care prior to them entering the hospital to ease the transition for the patients. Families are asked to fill out an intake form as well as an "All About Me" sheet so that hospital staff can get to know the child before their visit. Through the intake process hospital staff is able to get a better feel to what works and does not work and aims to eliminate many potential triggers through the creation of a "game plan" between the patient, family, child life and other members. Child life ensures that all areas that the family will be visiting are aware and prepared for their visit. Throughout their visit the child life specialist engages the child in a variety of age/developmentally appropriate activities allowing the parents time to focus on what the physician is saying without having to worry about their child simultaneously. Additionally, the child life specialist provides distraction and coping techniques throughout any test/procedure they may be undergoing. Child life assists each patient for the majority (if not all) of their visit.
For additional information regarding the program and enrollment, visit www.winthroppeds.com/star
Nathaniel Rand Playroom Program
Phoebe H. Stein Child Life Program at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
The mission of this program is to provide optimal play opportunities for hospitalized patients while affording young adults mentorship in healthcare careers during their employment as a paid intern. The program hires students in undergraduate or graduate programs or first year out as a gap year. The playroom assistants are to be trained by their child life mentors in child development and play. They will assist in management of playrooms and teen lounges on the inpatient floors and also provide bedside recreation for patients that are unable to leave their hospital rooms.
For our infants, toddlers, children and teens in the hospital play is an important part of every child's life; it's essential to their growth and development as a tool for learning and can promote healing and a sense of mastery and coping during challenging life events. Our playrooms are able to stay open 5-6 hours per day while staffed by playroom assistants. Many community partners can visit providing fun recreational activities under the facilitation of the playroom assistants.
For the playroom assistants these young adult mentees have the opportunity to work in a healthcare setting to explore careers through a mentorship program. They remain in the program for 1 year while being mentored and in addition to developing their skills in working with children and families; the mentees are exposed to various healthcare careers and attend workshops to promote understanding of how to develop a career path toward their professional goals. Mentees are afforded support in resume writing, networking, and mock interviews scaffolding them up into advanced education or careers of their choice.
For the mentors it is an opportunity for a CCLS to gain additional support in play aspect of program affording balance in clinical/play duties. Additionally, a CCLS has the opportunity to supervise others thus building skills in this area that will be transferable to practicum and intern students.
For the institution this is a way to stay aligned with our mission of impacting our community while implementing a cost effective way for enhancing programming. Funding for our program is provided by a family foundation.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
The “Bedside Buddy” program began as a four month pilot program in May 2018. Medical students, in their first and second year that had an interest in pediatrics, attended an orientation and training session prior to beginning. A google doc was provided weekly for students to sign up for a minimum of one-hour blocks of time. When the students arrived for a session, they were assigned to a patient ranging from newborn through twenty-one years of age. Students, under the supervision of child life provided appropriate bedside or playroom recreation activities for inpatients, as well as, children in our infusion center.
The pilot was mutually successful for all involved and continued through the end of 2018. We decided to expand for 2019 and opened the program up to students in other programs including nursing, public health, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Currently, we have thirty-five students from various schools participating in the “Bedside Buddy” program.
The program provides the students an opportunity to spend time with children while gaining insight into the importance of play, as well as, what these children are experiencing. They get to know them as the unique, special individuals they are. The patients enjoy having the one-to-one time with the students and all of the students look forward to their sessions as “bedside buddies”. Many of the students have said that their time here helps them to de-stress and prepare for their studies. An added benefit of the program for us has been having no monetary cost for this service.
Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
MagicAid is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing kind and compassionate care to patients through the art of magic. “Magic Therapists” are made up of healthcare professionals around the United States, and include medical students, nurses, child life specialists, physicians, and more. They provide one-on-one magic therapy sessions weekly for pediatric patients and their families. This program has been a staple at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital for a number of years, and MagicAid has now expanded to other hospitals in the tri-state area.
Trained MagicAid members engage patients in one-on-one magic therapy sessions in the comfort of the patients’ rooms. Carefully developed curriculum encourages active participation, and includes teaching the patient how to perform select effects that they can then keep and show to others. This boosts cognitive, social, and gross/fine motor skill development, as well as the emotional well-being of the children.
In addition to clinical work, MagicAid is actively conducting research studies to improve services and further bridge the worlds of magic and medicine.
MagicAid is dedicated to serving the pediatric population. They offer support to patients from those who are weekly visitors to the cancer center for treatment, to children who are in for a single ER visit. Additionally, MagicAid sees patients in Intensive Care (PICU), isolation units, and ambulatory surgery settings. Our therapy is catered to the child’s needs while also serving to benefit the family of the patient.
MagicAid strives to have a lasting impact on hospitalized patients. Therefore, their approach is two-tiered. First, they perform magic tricks for the patients in the comfort of their hospital rooms. After a few tricks, they teach the patients how to perform their favorite magic effects and leave them with the supplies to show the trick to others. Their faces light up and they keep practicing for days, eventually showing their doctors, nurses, family members, and friends.
If you’re interested in bringing MagicAid to your hospital or medical school, let us know, or visit MagicAid at magic-aid.org.
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