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Child Life Positivity

Program to Cheer Hospitalized Children Creates Bright Spots in Trying Times

Any time a child is hospitalized, it’s really hard for the youngster and the family.

The Child Life staff at The University of New Mexico Hospital create playful activities to what can otherwise be a difficult time for young patients. And while the hospital is under infection control measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still sprinkling each day with positive messages -- and a little fun.

Thank you to health care providers


March was Child Life Month at UNMH, says Ana Bacon, who manages the program that provides age-appropriate education and activities for pediatric patients.

“We usually go all out and have dress-up days and a doughnut-eating contest,” she says.

This year was different. Bacon says they still held activities, but they were “light” versions. 

They still held Sundae Sunday, and Crazy Socks and Hat Day was held -- with an emphasis on colorful socks rather than hats – because the nurses couldn’t wear the hats due to infection control measures. 

Staff wore NASA- and Buzz Lightyear-themed scrubs on Space Day. For Super Hero Cape Day, kids wore hand-stitched capes for the day, while nurses, who generally dress up for a whole day, wore them long enough for a quick photo shoot. (We all know they’re heroes, whether they’re wearing capes or not.) Dressing up for the Pirate and Tutu Day is on hold.

The nurses “love to go all out,” she says. And that’s why they’ll be holding a Child Life Month later.

While it’s fun for the children, the nurses enjoy it just as much – if not more – than the kids, Bacon says. 

“We’re trying to create bright spots when it’s so hard,” she says.

The Child Life staff has also created bright spots around the hospital entrances and exits – you might see colorful messages offering gratitude to health care providers.

To help you create a bright spot at while you’re at home, the Child Life staff made a video on how to make slime.


Categories: Features, Patient Care, Community, UNM Hospitals, UNM Health System

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