One of my son's friends, four-year-old PJ, had to spend the night at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, a top-notch facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After asking his mom about how PJ was doing and making sure that he was fine, I asked her about the television system – knowing that they are an eVideon™ client. She was so thankful for the system, especially the movies. They watched a bunch of them in the 24 hours they were in the hospital.
With all the cool features of eVideon, I was a little surprised that she keyed in on the movies. But having a four-year-old boy as well, I can see why. Some healthcare professionals view free movies, HD television and internet as "luxury amenities." But for a mom of a preschooler in the hospital, they are essential to healing, safety and sanity.
Healing and Safety
Ask any preschool teacher and she will tell you that even sick kids – especially boys – need to move. They can’t sit still, keep their hands to themselves and not kick their legs. And you really have to work to get them calmed down for a nap, especially in a noisy environment.
Ask a nurse about giving shots to a four-year-old. My son absolutely flipped out and could not stay still even for one minute. He screamed, he cried, he tried to push the needle away… It was awful.
So now, ask a preschooler – even one who is feeling yucky – to stay still while you put an IV in their arm… don’t jump when you take their blood… don’t mess with the IV or the machine attached to it… stay in bed… rest… try to sleep in this loud environment with people coming in and out.
How do you really expect a child to do that? Use the best weapon parents, teachers and babysitters have: digital entertainment. Keep them occupied with cool interactive screens, movies, games, television shows… anything to keep their mind busy and bodies resting. Not that we always want our children mesmerized by Lightning McQueen, Cinderella and the gang, but a couple days in the hospital won’t have long-term consequences.
So, how does this aid in healing and safety? The kids are……resting…quiet…more easily able to fall asleep…compliant…distracted during procedures…less stressed…less likely to fiddle with their IV’s, monitors and stay in bed.
Parents spend less time making sure their child isn't pulling out their IV, playing with the monitors, climbing out of bed, being loud, saying "I’m bored," and so on. After their children fall asleep, they can even enjoy a movie themselves.
Children don’t mind being stuck in bed so much and are distracted from the discomforts that come along with a hospital stay.
The nurse has a more compliant patient, doesn’t need to say "shhhhh" as much, and has to replace IVs and leads much less.
Also, young patients tend to have siblings who visit, and they also need entertainment. And the siblings actually have the energy to run the hallways. Movies work very well to keep them in the room and quieter.
Happier Patients, More Healing, Better Safety
So after thinking about it more, I can see how having a choice of more than 30 kids movies made both PJ and his parent’s stay much more pleasant, helped him heal quicker and kept him safer.
Not only is the same true for older children, but also for adults. Providing movies may seem like a luxury, but it can be one of the easiest ways to boost satisfaction as well as promoting healing and safety for all of your patients.