The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital Big Change Round Up takes place now through March 6, 2014. Sign up at www.bigchangeroundup.org.
What does it mean to be a Big Change Roundup Bandit?
From the perspective of a Child Life Specialist a Big Change Bandit is a hero. When you gather change (“coins or currency”), you become the vehicle for change (“to make or become different”). But, it’s not just about the money accumulated, it’s about what this event symbolizes. The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital is a community hospital, serving the community. It makes sense that the community has some ownership over the hospital experience. Because of this involvement, this relationship, with invested community members, Child Life services at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital can evolve and transition to meet the needs of children and families.
Who and what is the Child Life team? We are nine devoted specialists who provide developmentally-appropriate psychosocial support to children who find themselves coping with the potential stressors of a hospitalization (for themselves, or for a loved one).
Some thrilling “changes” from the Child Life team in 2013 included:
- the hire of a per-diem Child Life Specialist;
- the revamping of the inpatient pediatric playroom and teen room;
- expansion and development of support groups for children and families;
- an exciting new pediatric patient passport program; and
- expansion of our educational and bereavement support resources.
These changes came about due in part to the support we receive from the Big Change Roundup. The Child Life department is one of the many departments that directly benefits from donations.
We use these funds to purchase:
- Diversion activities. Books, games, craft supplies, movies, and much more are provided to children in the hospital setting. These seemingly basic items provide comfort and a sense of normalcy to children at the hospital and promote healthy growth and development, allowing children the chance to do what they do best – play!
- Therapeutic activities. Special activities with a goal in mind are provided to children to help them address the vast emotional needs of being in a hospital setting. These activities assist children in developing coping strategies when faced with a stressful situation, giving them outlets and ways to express emotion.
- Educational tools. Books, dolls and medical supply kits are provided to children with education and preparation in mind, as we strive to help them face potential medical stressors with understanding and confidence. Education and preparation seek to ease the anxiety that can come from the unknown aspects of a hospitalization. Educational tools help children to learn what to expect, ahead of time, through modeling and rehearsal.
- Coping tools. Bubbles, i-spy boards, stress balls, music and more are items that support children during more stressful moments of a hospitalization. Coping tools, special toys that function as stimulants to the five senses, are often used as distractions to ease anxiety during procedures.
- Comfort Items. Cozy blankets and comforting stuffed animals are provided to help welcome children and families to The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, upon arrival. These items often offer a sense of security and familiarity.
The Big Change Roundup ensures that we have these essential supplies and resources to support children and families. It also helps confirm the presence of the Child Life staff. Child Life is appreciative of your support and acknowledges that without your generosity, we would not be able to provide the best possible care for children and their families.!
We greatly thank you, dear Bandits of change, we admire you for all your hard work, and we appreciate our continued collaboration to find new ways of changing and evolving services at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital to best fit YOUR needs.