Medical Play Dolls
Medical play dolls are used in hospital settings as a communication tool for explaining an invasive procedure to a child or for diagnosing a child's discomfort. If a child is facing an IV for the first time, medical staff in the emergency room insert an IV on a doll's arm as they explain the procedure to the child. The child is then given the doll (and sometimes a little hospital gown for the doll) as their own to hold for security.
If a child is experiencing pain but is unable to tell the medical staff the location of the pain, a doll is given to the child and the child is asked "where does it hurt". Most children easily point to the spot that hurts, enabling the staff to more quickly diagnosis the problem. The dolls are made from plain muslin cloth, so they have no facial features. At times, children are allowed to draw on the dolls and express their feelings with a smiley face or a frowny face, enabling the staff to know the emotional state of a child in stress.
In the picture to the left, the child needed respiratory treatments and did not want to cooperate. Julie, a Child Life Specialist on a medical mission trip to Peru, writes about the experience:
"I just wanted to say thanks again for donating some blank cloth dolls to take with me to Peru on our medical mission trip. They were great to have and I was able to use them specifically
with a few kids for medical play. The picture is of a little girl with asthma who hated her breathing treatments and after two days of medical play with the doll, she was doing much better!"
So many times, we find that our handcrafted items benefit the caregivers as much as the recipients. Doctors, nurses, child life specialists, parents and therapists in facilities with limited budgets find these products of great value in the treatment of their littlest patients.
Alzheimer's Activity Muff
Alzheimer's is a progressive, irreversible brian disorder and is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly in the United States, claiming more than 100,000 lives annually. The average length of the illness
is 7 years but can last 15 years or more. Many in the advanced stages of the disorder have problems resulting from boredom, confusion and repetitive motion activity that they cannot seem to control. These activity muffs are designed to engage the patient in self-initiated activities to reduce the occurance of
acting out behaviors and agitation.
CCVN is currently providing two hospice organizations with these muffs to help improve patient's interaction with caregivers and family. The brightly colored muffs are satin on the outside for texture and fleece on the inside for warmth and include a variety of different sensorimotor items such as buttons, beads, zippers, velcro and ribbons for the patient to interact with and sooth repetitive motion tendencies.