Monday, July 27, 2015

Child Life as Pain Management

Recently my co-worker and I were invited to become a member of our hospital’s pain team. 
Our pain team is composed of nurses, chaplains, child life specialists, holistic medicine and administration.

How can Child Life help Pain Management? 
By teaching coping techniques to our patients! 

Here are just a few examples:

Breathing is an effective source of pain control because it releases muscle tension, relaxes the mind and allows the brain to focus away from pain. In fact, deep breathing is one of the best ways to reduce stress in the body. This is because when you slow down and take deep breaths, a message is sent to the brain to relax. The brain then sends the message to the body. Within minutes, both the mind and body will have a new found sense of calm. There are physical changes that occur, too. When taking slow, deep breaths, the heart stops racing, blood pressure drops and fast breathing is slowed. (Child Life can help teach deep breathing with bubbles, pinwheels and blow horns)

Guided Imagery- Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination. Guided Imagery is related to cognitive behavioral therapy that has been recommended by the American Chronic Pain Association. Anyone can provide guided imagery, just keep a steady even calm voice, a quiet environment and the room darkened for comfort. (I love using guided imagery with my anxious teens or teens that need to wait awhile for pain meds to kick in)

This is my favorite guided imagery book to use 

Stress Ball/Clay- The act of repeatedly squeezing a ball or clay releases tension and helps to relieve stress. It can also be molded, thrown, hit and squeezed to deal with the anger from having chronic pain.

Therapeutic Activities- creating a beach in a jar(can use along with guided imagery), fish squish, Nerf guns, toilet paper target practice, writing, journaling, art projects, talking, volcanoes and a million more activities 

Distraction from pain- talking, singing, playing a game, making an art project, watching a movie, listening to music, playing with toys, volunteer visits, and pet therapy



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