Decrease Needle Fear and Pain with Smileyscope

There was a recent study by the US National Library of Medicine that states that 50% of children have needle fear. Adults can also struggle, especially when they have experienced a traumatic needle procedure as a child.

Child life specialists provide developmentally appropriate information about medical procedures and teach children coping skills.  One tool that many specialists incorporate is virtual reality (VR) goggles. Being immersed in a VR game or video can help distract patients and allow medical providers to complete their job without causing trauma.

I’m thrilled to share an amazing new resource that is supporting children with needle fear, Smileyscope. I had the opportunity to play with SmileyScope and see all the features it offers. The one thing that I loved the most is that it provides patients with an underwater experience that aligns with receiving a needle procedure such as a blood draw, vaccination, or port access.

Guest Blogger, Michelle Loughery from Smileyscope 

Understanding from other Child Life Specialists I have talked with, Covid-19 has significantly changed the way your profession supports children and families’ medical experiences. There is now an innovative option that reframes needle procedures – which children fear the most – and can assist you on several levels. Smileyscope will enable you to be better equipped to ‘social distance,’ while still successfully achieving your objectives to improve patients’ fear and anxiety in stressful environments.

Smileyscope is a 510K exempt, Class I medical-grade Virtual Reality (VR) goggle with proprietary software for:

  • Needle procedures – a choreographed “underwater adventure” to help reduce pain, anxiety, and first-stick success, with virtual waves that match when the clinician cleans with antiseptic, and fish nibble when the needle is inserted (this is patented and unique to Smileyscope)
  • Deep breathing – to support patients during times of high anxiety and distress, with a focus on being calm
  • Wellness – mindfulness and relaxation with music therapy, to allow children to virtually visit with seals and kittens, and also experience a virtual “cafe”

The goal is to improve the experience for the patient, parents, and health care providers and to reduce workplace disruption and costly delays or multiple attempts of the procedure. Smileyscope was developed by a multidisciplinary team – including CLSs – with two large RCT trials performed (The Journal of Pediatrics) documenting the efficacy in reducing pain, anxiety, and the need for restraints in patients 4-11 years of age. The facilities in which the trial took place were Monash Children’s and Royal Children’s Hospitals, both in Melbourne, Australia, where Smileyscope as a company was founded.

Smileyscope’s VR goggles are specifically designed for easy disinfection between patients and exceeds hospital infection control standards. It is very easy to learn and use, requiring no change to your standard protocols for blood draws, IV catheters, or port accesses. Although several anesthesiologists have mentioned the need to wait to place an IV, provide a nerve block, or do a lumbar puncture after the child is sedated, all of these processes are done in the OR. Those in this arena understand Smileyscope could benefit them by using it as a distraction initially, eliminating the delay.

Where to Purchase

You can order Smileyscope directly from their website, by calling (888) 300-7117 or emailing sales@smileyscope.com.

Be sure to follow Smileyscope on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

 

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Wellness Journal Supporting Children with a Chronic Illness: Spotlight and Giveaway

Living with a chronic illness is life-altering. When children are diagnosed with an illness they need additional supportive tools. Child life specialists play an important role in providing medical education, creative outlets, and coping skills. Often times, they use books with a similar theme that a child can relate to.

I’m excited to introduce a new addition to the children’s book Tiger Livy. The co-author, Erin Garcia has created a wellness journal that can be used with or without the children’s book. Learn more below and be sure to enter the giveaway.

Guest Blogger, Erin Garcia Co-Author of Tiger Livy

The Tiger Livy Wellness Journal will motivate anyone, regardless of their life circumstances. This journal is connected to the children’s book Tiger Livy, the story of a young girl who unexpectedly gets very sick. Her journey towards health inspires empathy, patience, and grit in its readers.

Even if you haven’t read Tiger Livy, this journal is the perfect way to get to know yourself a little bit better. Journalers gain perspective by naming feelings, observations, and concerns, and recalling important life events. Each week’s entry has a place to track gratitude, important events, feelings, and reflect on the prior week.

Establishing this healthy habit even 10-15 minutes a week impacts your overall health and happiness in a significant way. You can also color in the coloring pages if you enjoy tapping into your creative side. Also added are some extra note pages, in case you need a bit of extra room for those busy weeks. At the end of your weekly entries, there is an awesome year in review page to remind you of how much you’ve grown.

Your weekly journal entries will encourage you in challenging times, motivate you to savor happy moments, promote gratitude and overall wellness, and remind you of all the brilliance you possess. We hope you start your Tiger Livy Wellness Journal today and reap all the benefits it has to offer.

Currently, the journal is available on Etsy, and in a few weeks, will be available on Amazon too.

We will be giving away a copy of Tiger Livy Welness Journal to one lucky winner.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

  1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment below.
  2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag a friend.
  3. Facebook: Follow Tiger Livy Project.
  4. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @TigerLivyProject tag two friends in the post.
  5. Twitter: Follow, Like, and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy.

Good luck, the winner will be chosen by 12/2/20.

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Using Art to Support Children Coping with Illness

Guest Blogger, Caroline Robins at Kids & Art

Kids & Art Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides art experiences for families touched by pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, to heal, empower, encourage, and create memorable experiences.

Due to COVID, our weekly hospital programs at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Stanford Children’s Hospital were put on hold in March 2020 as were our monthly destination workshops at creative venues. We took our 10 years of experience and our creative resources to be there for our families when they needed us most by creating virtual art workshops as well as amazing art lessons on youtube, to continue healing through the arts. Life was challenging enough for immunocompromised children before COVID. It is even more important to give them access to our workshops now so they can engage, connect, and create with others.

Check out our video about our COVID Response

As our Kids & Art researcher Dawn Linhardt has shared, research has shown that supportive services and therapies such as Kids & Art have been shown to affect stress as demonstrated through decreases in cortisol levels. These interventions are low cost and based on the research have the potential to decrease rates of readmission due to secondary infections.

Stress-relieving interventions such as art are becoming the standard in cancer care within integrative medicine. Preliminary evaluation of data from a study that includes Kids & Art families indicates that the physical symptoms and isolation associated with cancer treatment has a negative effect on the quality of life. We believe that supporting services like ours have the potential to alleviate stress and address the issues of isolation and ultimately improve the quality of life measurements.

Kids & Art is staying true to our mission to always be there for families wherever they are in their treatment. We are delighted to welcome patient families from other states including Alaska, Maryland, Michigan, and Florida as well as our home state of California. Visit our website for more details and a link to register.

What do our workshops include? Along with guided art projects we also include virtual tours of artists’ studios and galleries and invited guest artists. The workshops provide a space for creativity, fun, and stress relief and they bring a sense of togetherness for all ages in a supportive environment.

We have also started a larger Conversation in Improving the Quality of Care by inviting experts from the Art + Health + Innovation space. We have made all these conversations available for free on our YouTube playlist.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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