Children’s hospitals have been a blessing, not only for me, but for my family over the years. They have provided us with the most kind and professional care possible. Everything is made available for, accessible to and fundamentally to serve the needs of the children and their families. The colors on the wall, the cartoons in the X-Ray room, the TV sets in the room hooked up to DVD and game consoles, and the frequent array of visitors all make for a much more pleasant stay for the patients they serve.
What many adults who don’t have children regularly in a hospital cannot understand is just how pivotal the entertainment is for the children, and also the children’s doctors and nurses! The kids are distracted enough to let the medical experts treat them. They have games, toys and books for all ages! Even the rooms are designed with kids’ comfort in mind. Everything is on the kids’ level, making them feel more in control. It is hard to treat a child who is terrified and hospitals can be quite scary for kids. Too many tubes and needles for most kids comfort levels! The atmosphere and staff accommodate this fear and seek to mitigate its effects on their littlest patients. If you can’t understand the procedure, it really helps if everything else is made to appease the fear.
Child Life is a critical component of any stay at the hospital. They strive to make everyone’s stay, while perhaps not quite enjoyable, at least ‘bear’-able! But the most important aspect is the sincere respect and kindness showed by the staff to their patients. They take the time to answer all questions of the kids and patiently listen to accounts of the latest SpongeBob episodes. I would bet that many of them are now regular Disney channel connoisseurs so as to keep up with their little patients’ interests. I’m not sure you could find many doctors, outside of children’s hospitals that can quote, offhand, such movies as “Pokémon” and “Lilo and Stitch”.
For these reasons (not withstanding the most excellent milkshakes I receive when inpatient at Dayton Children’s Hospital!), I believe that a hospital geared toward children is a necessity. You can find medical treatment at any hospital…but it’s the extra mile that children’s hospitals go that make them the best place for children!