PHILANTHROPY IN ACTION
A Day with the Child Life Team
A behind-the-scenes look at how this specialized team helps children cope with medical treatment in a positive way .
ny parent who has watched their infant receive immunizations knows that even routine health care can be frightening for children . That ’ s why every aspect of Baylor Scott & White McLane Children ’ s is designed to help children feel comfortable . When severe illness or injury brings children to the hospital , the Child Life team is there to help our young patients and their families cope with the stress and anxiety that often accompany these profound healthcare experiences .
Together with facility therapy dog Lorenzo , these experts in child development help normalize the hospital experience for children and families through play , positive coping skills , and developmentally appropriate medical education . “ We know what ’ s going on with each patient and procedure and are able to break that down for a 4 year-old , or a 12 year-old , or even for their parents ,” says Tina Ulanowski , manager of the McLane Children ’ s Child Life team . “ We use real equipment for medical play ; we show photos of what they ’ ll experience ; we use language they understand like referring to a catheter as a straw . We meet them where they are developmentally and help them gain mastery over what can be a really scary experience .”
Through your support , Child Life services are offered free-of-charge to help families focus on healing . Here ’ s a quick look at a typical day in the life of the Child Life team at McLane Children ’ s .
8:00 AM - As the operating room opens its doors for the day , Certified Child Life Specialist ( CCLS ) Sarah Cook blows bubbles through an anesthesia mask to help a nervous 3-year-old girl become familiar with the medical equipment and relax prior to her surgery . 9:00 AM - Ally McLaughlin , CCLS uses pictures , sounds , and a special doll to help an 8-year-old boy know what
Leah Woodward , CCLS helps Wade take the blood pressure of a doll during medical play to help him feel more in control . to expect during his MRI scan . With her help , the boy understands that he needs to stay very still for the entire 65 minutes and completes his scans without the need for sedation . He is proud of himself !
10:00 AM - Kalan Pivoney , CCLS meets with members of different disciplines to discuss and collaborate on their plans for each child currently in the hospital . She learns about a 12-year-old patient recently diagnosed with diabetes and makes plans to help him understand his new way of life . ( Spoiler alert — he can still have plenty of fun !)
11:00 AM - Beth Bender , CCLS moves quickly through the emergency room to assist a 17-year-old boy who was just in a car accident . While doctors and nurses work quickly to assess the patient ’ s injuries , Beth stands at the head of the patient ’ s bed and uses a calm voice to tell the boy what to expect . The boy focuses on Beth ’ s guidance and feels some calm in the chaos .
12:00 PM - Ashley Blackmon , CCLS knows simple distraction won ’ t work on a 7-year-old girl who is about to have an IV placed in her hand . Ashley holds the girl ’ s hand , reminds her to take deep breaths , and uses a seek-and-find book to help the girl focus on pictures rather than the needle .
1:00 PM - Leah Woodward , CCLS and therapy dog Lorenzo meet with a 15-year-old boy who recently had surgery . The teenager is reluctant to get out of bed , fearing pain , but he is motivated to move if he can go for a walk with Lorenzo . On their walk , Leah gives the patient a chance to express his worries and provides comfort with a listening ear .
2:00 PM - Jenny Damron , CCLS presents a 12-year-old girl receiving treatment for brain cancer with the latest addition to her Beads of Courage ® collection . These special beads symbolize various treatments
THE COMPASS / BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE CENTRAL TEXAS FOUNDATION NEWS / FALL 2020