In this day and age, few things capture a child’s interest like technology.
So when the Cardon Children’s Medical Center Child Life Specialists enter the room—iPads in hand—they have a child’s attention.
Thanks to a generous donation, Cardon now has three iPads for Child Life Specialists to use in the Emergency Room and to help prep children for surgical or diagnostic procedures.
“Historically, we’ve used scrapbooks to help tell children the story of what is going to happen while they’re in the hospital,” says Mindy Mesneak, child life specialist. “We were able to scan the scrapbooks into the iPad and we show our stories to the children on the screen. It’s more durable and attention-grabbing and gives us the ability to zoom in and zoom out on areas we want to highlight.”
This is one way the Child Life Specialists use the iPads to help educate children and reduce their anxiety. The iPads also come in handy as another tool in their bag of tricks to help distract children as they under go stressful procedures. “Angry Birds” and “Talking Tom” are popular games that engage kids of all ages on the iPad. Using the iPad also seems to lighten the mood in the room, helping parents and health care professionals alike.
“There was a three-year-old child in the Emergency Room who needed to have stitches,” Mesneak says. “He was so wrapped up in what he was doing on the iPad that the stitches were finished before he even realized they’d begun!”
Mesneak says the iPads have added another dimension to the services they provide: it gives children a choice in what to do.
“I tell patients that I’m like a teacher in the hospital and I’m here to answer any of their questions,” she says. “I also tell them I’m the one person in the hospital they can tell to ‘go away.’”
Once the iPads are in hand, however, the odds of that happening are slim to none!