I got to wake up early this morning and head to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
I had set up an appointment a couple weeks back with Jackie Ferman-Grothe, the Manager of Media Relations. I wanted to show off how Child’s Play was making a difference in the treatment of children at the hospital. After telling her about the Pax2Pax project she penned me into her schedule without hesitation! After greeting me at the front desk I got my visitor badge and we were off to our first stop, the Children’s Play Lounge.
The room is filled with toys, art supplies, board games, and an area with a TV and video games. Children who are well enough can come to this lounge from across the hospital to play and take their mind elsewhere. Jackie said, “We want to takeThere was also a small band of volunteers numbering about 10 ready to assist families and patients and play alongside. They were a bit shy but some agreed to a picture.
Across the hall is a lounge area for older children and teens. It comes stocked with cabinets bearing the fruit of Child’s Play donations.
Children who must stay in their treatment areas and rooms have access to a Wii on many of their floors. There aren’t that many so rooms have to share the equipment. After the tour of the play area I was taken to see where the donations are taken in and stored. The Child Life Services room houses the office space for the Child Life Specialists as well as a room filled with donated games and play things. This office helps plan special events for their patients’ entertainment and wellness. The Child Specialists use iPads to educate their patients and their families which also double as gaming and video devices to keep children in a happy mood.
One of the Child Life Specialists summarized their job saying “If it’s fun, it’s what we do.” Indeed, if you check out their webpage you’ll find a great explaination of their job and a video detailing how they impact their young patients’ lives. From their page:
The Child Life Services department works with patients and families to develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety, and separation from friends and family by using play, music, art, recreation and education techniques.
Our next stop was to one of the treatment floors. I was taken to the Hematology and Oncology treatment wing and shown the room where children receive chemotherapy in their fight against cancer.
Children can spend up to seven hours straight here and keeping their mind active and focused away from their therapy is crucial to their wellbeing. While in chemotherapy, children have access to their own cabinets containing more games, computers, and TVs.
And that concluded my tour. I did get to take a swing through their physical therapy area, which was HUGE! There was a rock climbing wall, a small weight room, and a central play area looped by a walking track. I couldn’t get a picture due to a lot of patients being around but here’s a link with more information! Having gotten to walk through the hospital I can say that I have even more motivation to put behind Pax2Pax. Children’s Hospitals and Child’s Play are making a great difference for our nation’s children and across the world and I’m honor to make the memoy of Johnny Strong a part of the effort. On my way out I grabbed some information on volunteering. Hopefully I can put in a few hours a week through the summer.
Want more information? Here’s some links!