Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Toy Tuesday: Blank Dolls

In August, the blog on the child life council released a blog all about what teaching dolls can do for child life specialists.
Here is the link to that blog (you'll have to sign in first)

It got me thinking about how often I use blank dolls at work, and how many other uses there are!

We are so lucky to have a donation from a local LDS humanitarian center of blank dolls.

Build Rapport- "Hi I'm Sydney I'm a child life specialist/I work for child life. I have a doll for you, she/he is wearing hospital pajamas just like you! You can decorate their face with these markers, if you want to."  

Sibling Support- Giving brother or sister a doll that has hospital pajamas just like their brother or sister wears can be something for them to hang onto, especially during flu season when sibling visitation is limited. Siblings can do their own medical play on the doll as well, and allow time for a child life specialist to correct any misconceptions a sibling might have.

IV starts- For a patient that is having a hard time looking at their IV, having a stuffed animal or blank doll that looks just like them can make a big difference. I also use blank dolls for teaching children about IV starts and for the ones that seem particularly anxious I let them keep the doll. Last week I had an 8 year old come into the PICU for DKA. While talking with her I learned that even though she has had many IV starts in the past she still was very nervous and couldn't remember all the steps. I gave her a doll and all the IV equipment then we went through the steps of an IV start and I was able to answer her questions along the way. Then because she was going to have two IV's she gave a second IV to the doll and she had me play a game with the doll on my iPad while she worked. 

Casting- Some children are anxious about what a cast is going to look like. I had ortho make my doll its very own cast so that I can show kids, but I also allow them to make their own doll a cast with colored compression tape while I talk them through the process of casting. 

Medical Play -Medical play provides emotional support by allowing a child to role-play and rehearse medical experiences they may have had. Medical play is a nonverbal way for children to communicate concerns or preferences regarding their medical experiences. Almost all children immediately do to their doll what was done to them. It is a a great way for child life specialists to validate children and correct any misconceptions they may have. 


 Surgery prep-My hospital has recently let child life into day surgery(woohoo). I utilize my doll to show how an infant sized mask will fit on the doll's nose and mouth. I also show lead placement on the dolls chest and stomach as well as pulse ox on the doll's hand!

NG tubes- Most children have never heard of or seen an NG tube before they get one. I poked a tiny hole in my doll's nose and let the patient thread the NG tube into my doll so they can feel the tube and learn the process.It is so cute when kids tell their doll to swallow, swallow, swallow. 

Breathing Treatments- I talked about the importance of blank dolls for normalizing breathing treatments in this post!

VCUG's- I utilize a doll when prepping for a VCUG showing the catheter and it's placement. I also took pictures to make a prep book with my doll laying on the table and the camera over her.

Sutures- I learned quickly that you can prepare a child for the process of suturing but not so much what they will look like when it's all done. After having one little boy scream "there's spiders in my face," I decided I should probably get someone to place some stitches in my prep doll!

What are some other uses you use blank dolls, or teaching dolls for?