Providing Comfort to Children through Song

Portrait of a cute little boy with stethoscopeHealthcare can be a confusing and frightening environment for a child. Altru’s child life specialist, Melissa Swenson, helps approximately 2,500 children and adolescents every year by familiarizing them with the hospital or clinic setting through exploration and play.

Recently, a three-year-old patient needed a CT scan. (Due to a medical condition, his mother was unable to accompany him to the scan.) She tucked him in the wagon with his blanket, bear and balloon, and he was given a “brave cap” as she waved goodbye.

Melissa recalls, “As I looked back to check on the patient, he appeared nervous, so I started quietly singing ‘Old McDonald’ with him. After several rounds, staff started singing with us in the hallway as they ventured off to where they needed to go. We made it through the procedure singing and returned to the room all smiles, no tears.”

Instead of being scared of medical professionals in strange scrubs, gloves and masks, the child saw the staff as friendly animals on Old McDonald’s farm. Later, Altru staff made a reenactment of this child’s joyful experience.

Thank you to all who were a part of making this special moment happen!

Moments like this happen every day at Altru Health System. Want to be a part of improving health and enriching life? Join our team.

(Note: the child in the video is a staff member’s child for which we had consent, not the actual patient.)

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