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‘Help make it a little bit brighter’: Child Life Specialists at the children’s hospital help kids cope

At the Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, Child Life Specialists explain procedures to children, play with them, and help distract them.

MACON, Ga. — For a child, a trip to the hospital can seem confusing and frightening.

At the Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital at Navicent Health, Child Life Specialists explain procedures to children, play with them, and help distract them.

Their job is to kelp kids and their families get through a hospital visit with ease.

“My day is usually filled with kids coming in for all kinds of procedures and surgeries. A lot of times they come here, and they have no idea why they’re here. A lot of times, parents may be afraid to tell the child that they have a surgery that day,” Heather Trescott said. “And so that’s kind of where we come in.”

Trescott, Megan McGraw, and Megan Bridges are Child Life Specialists at the children’s hospital.

Every day, they help kids cope with hospitalization. The Child Life Specialists prepare kids for procedures by explaining the process in child-friendly terms and provide activities for kids to distract them from the hospital environment.

“Just try to normalize the environment as much as we can, so they can still be a kid while in the hospital,” Trescott said.

Credit: Thais Ackerman

The specialists use several different tools to work with children in the hospital. Trescott says they often use stuffed animals to demonstrate to kids how an intravenous injection works.

For teens, they use a different product that is flat and has vein-like structures in it. It allows the teens to feel and see what a vein is like and how an IV is injected. 

Bridges says she often uses iPads to distract kids. She downloads their favorite games and applications, then sits with them to play along. She also uses arts-and-crafts.

Teaching dolls are another tool the specialists use to do demonstrations. These dolls have several detachable adapters that can be used to portray different procedures to kids, like inserting feeding tubes or a lumbar puncture.

"It does have, you know, a price tag to it," Trescott said.

There are six Child Life Specialists at Navicent. Trescott estimates all the equipment they need roughly adds up to $10,000 worth of supplies.

“It’s very important to get some on these tools that we’re asking for because it really helps their hospital stay a little bit better,” McGraw said.

McGraw says parents and families have told her how thankful they are to have the specialists in their child’s care.

“They’ve said they’ve seen a difference in their child once they come into the hospital how terrified, and afraid, they are,” McGraw said. “And we go in and introduce services and are able to bring them things to do and play.”


100% of funds donated through Cares for Kids will go directly towards the hospital's programs, services, and equipment. There's a few ways to donate.


Call (478)-633-6000 or text 4KIDS to 51555.


You can make a donation of $15, $25, $100, $180, or write in a custom amount online at https://www.navicenthealth.org/radiothon



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