Medical procedures can be daunting and for children in particular the experience
can be frightening. To support Gunnison Valley Health’s youngest
hospital patients, the nursing staff have created a pediatric distraction
toolkit. The toolkit is a combination of technology, practices, equipment
and toys all designed to make medical procedures easier and give the child
something to focus on during their time in the hospital.
Leah Swasey, RN said the toolkit is something she has seen used successfully
at other hospitals.
“For children being treated in our emergency room or patient care
unit, the noise, equipment and procedures can be incredibly scary and
lead to trauma,” Swasey said. “If we can find ways to mitigate
that trauma, it not only improves the immediate health care the child
is receiving it may lead to better long-term health.”
The toolkit includes distraction items such as virtual reality goggles
that allow the child to visit magical places – like a world of Legos
and outer space; iPads loaded with games; and an array of toys, books
and puzzles. The nursing staff can mix and match these items to best support
each unique situation and pair them with practices, such as specific ways
a parent can hold their child to minimize fear.
Another component of the toolkit was the purchase of a needle-free injection
system to make procedures such as placing an IV virtually painless and
less traumatic. The system, called J-Tip, uses CO2 to administer a numbing
agent prior to the procedure.
“The toolkit expands what we have at our disposal to improve the
experience for each child who comes through our doors,” Swasey said.
“For example, when you draw blood or place an IV and can have a
parent holding a child to minimize fear, use the J-Tip to numb the area
and distract the child with virtual reality goggles; often we can complete
the procedure without them ever noticing the needle.”
The toolkit was made possible with support from the Gunnison Valley Health
Foundation, which purchased the virtual reality goggles, and the Starlight
Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is
to entertain, distract and inspire hospitalized kids. Gunnison Valley
Health has been a partner of the Starlight Children’s Foundation
and benefited from its programs for years and the pediatric distraction
toolkit project fit perfectly into that relationship.
“We reached out to the Starlight Foundation and explained what we
were trying to accomplish,” said Sherilyn Skokan, Gunnison Valley
Health’s Director of Patient Care Services. “They not only
provided us with the necessary supplies to create our toolkit, they gave
us a way to ensure that the project is sustainable for the future.”
This project is another example of the culture of innovation at Gunnison
Valley Health, a critical component to the health system’s strategic plan.
“It is a huge reward for the community and for the clinical staff
at Gunnison Valley Health that each person is empowered to bring their
ideas forward and supported to bring them to life,” said Gunnison
Valley Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Andy Bertapelle. “We
have a nursing staff who bring a diverse range of experience and ideas
that will only continue to make our services better and our health system