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Novelty visors bring smile to paeditric patients

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Creative NHS staff put their heads together to make cheerful visors with cartoon characters to keep patients' spirits up in a children's hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns had been raised that children being cared for in Glasgow Children's Hospital would struggle to comprehend why the doctors and nurses whose faces they are familiar with were suddenly wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). And with many long-term child patients suffering from compromised immune systems as a result of serious illnesses, staff have been very aware of the need for PPE - as well as the dramatic change in routine for kids. Nursing staff approached colleagues who usually make prosthetic limbs, to see if their skills could be put to use.

Mel Dixon, paediatric orthotic service lead, said: "We are used to manufacturing things. "A lot of young children in hospital are long-term patients and they are not used to seeing staff in full PPE.

"The children will know the nursing staff by face and name, then all of a sudden they are not visually the same as they have a gown and a visor on.

"One of the nurses asked if we could come up with an accessory that could let them know which member of staff it is - maybe a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine or something.

"We came up with a prototype and factored in infection control, and we came up with one where we could attach a visor and make sure it could be cleaned.

"Then the staff nurses put the pictures they wanted on.

"It is stuff the kids like - Spongebob Squarepants or Superman, or rainbows. "Children have not been hit as hard as adults by the virus but we are protecting them, we are having to be very careful.

"Fun is so important, play is so important, it is reducing the worries for kids - they shouldn't be experiencing the same worries as adults. "We have clinicians and a technical support team who support us.

"They have a really specialist set of skills. "We are just using the facilities, equipment, machinery and resources we have."

Chief nurse at the children's hospital, Jen Rodgers, added: "The whole Covid situation was really fast moving.

"Things were changing all the time about PPE and for children going into hospital it is quite a scary time anyway.

"We have all sorts of things to help children with their hospital experience. "You can't see nurses and doctors' faces as well as they are covered by masks or visors, so that could be quite scary for kids.

"One of the clinicians spoke to Mel. "It is just a different thing to bring a bit of joy into their experience. "It is to make it a bit more fun.

"The practises of children's hospitals and children's nursing is to make the experience less scary and age appropriate.

"All these little things make a huge difference.

"Children's hospitals are designed to be more child friendly, so we are doing the same thing with PPE."

She praised colleagues for pulling together across all departments during the crisis.

Ms Rodgers said: "I'm really proud of Mel and what he's achieved. "We do like to keep the kids' morale up and also to keep staff spirits up. "Seeing someone walking around wearing a rainbow gives them a boost.

"It has been enabling innovation to happen, being a collaborative team and making a real difference to patients and staff."

ENDS

Story courtesy of SWNS

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