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Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM

What does it mean to be a full-service child-friendly family-centered children’s hospital?

It means a lot more than just words.  It means actions—child-sensitive and focused actions in every aspect of the care we provide—and that includes how we communicate and educate our youngest patients, especially those that have never used our services before and are worried about what is going to happen when they get here.

Well—fortunately we have a solution that is the result of input from families, staff, and providers—a newly designed interactive website to introduce everyone to services offered at our University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center, and it is being launched this week.

The site centers around our mascot Monty the Moose and is called “Monty’s Great Adventure” and is as helpful to children as it is to parents.  Using fun, child-friendly graphics, combined with multimedia featuring videos, audio segments, slide shows, and even interactive features and games children can play, the site provides information on everything from outpatient procedures to inpatient stays as Monty becomes a patient needing a variety of programs and services from our The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital.  What I love is how many of our wonderful staff appear in various segments of the site showing children what their particular role is in providing them care.   Even I get a part in helping guide users (and Monty) through the various sections of the site.

What if your older child or teen doesn’t want to interact with Monty on this visit to our hospital and just wants to know what will happen?  We’ve thought of that as well. There are even areas on the site designed for older children and teens who may not want to journey with Monty but need information about the appointments or procedures they are going to have. Even siblings and friends of a child can use the site to learn more about how we strive to make the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital experience a positive and comfortable one for every child who needs us.

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the University of Vermont Medical Center. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives.

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