Intrepid Child Life team and medical student volunteers safely deliver Halloween fun to kids in hospital
No contact? No problem!
Patients in HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital are experiencing the fun of Halloween in spite of the pandemic, thanks to the efforts of the Child Life team who have redesigned their usual Halloween events to include expanded infection prevention and control measures.
A favorite annual event at the hospital is “Reverse Trick or Treating”. Through a unique partnership, first-year medical students visit every two weeks, bringing activities and interacting with patients under the guidance of Child Life specialists. At Halloween, the students dress up and bring treat bags to the individual patients in their rooms (instead of the kids going out to collect treats).
Reverse Trick or Treating was able to go ahead this year thanks to a no-contact process developed by Child Life with support from our own health system super heroes in Infection Prevention & Control. This year, while only 10 students instead of the normal 110 were able to gear up with PPE to safely deliver treats to our patients there was no shortage of fun or excitement.
As they do for all special celebration days, the team pulled out all the stops for Halloween to help kids celebrate and experience a sense of normalcy while in hospital. The Child Life closed-circuit television station (CHTV) broadcast themed programing to each room, music therapists featured Halloween songs, themed books were on display at the library, and the whole care team decorated patient care areas. Within IP&C protocols in the playroom and on the wards, Child Life specialists invited patients to participate in Halloween crafts, activities, and pumpkin decorating. Favourite activities were picking a new costume, generously donated by Spirit of Halloween, and having a picture taken at the photo booth.
Coping with illness, injury, and treatment is often challenging and stressful for children, adolescents, and their families. Certified Child Life Specialists provide therapeutic play, preparation for medical procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety and pain for our patients and their families.
By being able to participate in ‘normal’ activities with a COVID-safe twist, children gain a sense of control that contributes positively to their coping and overall patient experience. Our thanks to all members of the team who made this year’s Halloween festivities enjoyable for patients, families and our staff.
“We are fortunate to see hope, resilience, and healing in children every day. It’s a joy to see how patients look forward to these purposeful activities and see how it helps them cope with being in hospital.” – Nicole Hase-Wilson, Child Life Clinical Services Lead