Can Toys Help Heal?

Super interesting stuff from OR nurse Erin Radvansky: "Surgery is a scary prospect; especially for the young patients at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Located in Lawrenceville, PA, our hospital is one of the largest in the nation. The operating room sees thousands of patients a year and the task of preparing children for medical and surgical procedures is a great one. Studies show (Iadarola, G. (1984) Surgery Made Less Scary for Children AORN Journal and Halverson-Carpenter, K. (1998) Developing a pediatric patient/parent hospital preparation program AORN Journal) that puppets or toys can be useful to explain to children what will happen in a medical procedure. They provide a diversion, create a playful setting and help the nurse gain the child's trust. This prompted me to search around for appropriate teaching tools for children having surgery and I found I Heart Guts, home to snuggly body parts. This website provides perfect cuddly guts perfect for pediatric patients. A smiling stuffed liver or appendix changes the organ in the child's mind from a frightening unknown into a nonthreatening toy. For a child that is getting a liver transplant, an appendectomy or kidney surgery, a little plush buddy is just what the doctor (or nurse) ordered!" Thanks, Erin, for the links to these fascinating studies!

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  • Azucena Abadi

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