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Primary Children’s Caregivers help PPE be less scary during pandemic

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Caregivers at Primary Children’s are trying to help their young patients cope with COVID-19 and PPE through play.

Being a child in a hospital can be scary, especially if you see people dressed in personal protective equipment worn for COVID-19 protection. Officials with Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital say child life specialists, an artistically-inclined nurse practitioner, and a splash of color can help make these unique situations not so scary for young patients.

Primary Children’s child life specialists have created a new PPE coloring book to help kids better understand why some caregivers wear strange clothes and equipment, like gowns and face shields and hoses strapped to their backs, instead of the colorful scrubs that they would typically see outside of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Intermountain, they want kids to know that underneath the shields are the friendly faces of the nurses and doctors who help them.

Courtesy: Intermountain Healthcare

“We’ve noticed any child who comes into the Emergency Department, or any kiddos getting tested, are seeing a lot of our caregivers wearing PPE. We know this can make the hospital even scarier because the PPE is unknown and it’s covering people’s faces,” said Antonia “Davi” Vitela, a certified child life specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital. “We wanted a positive resource that kids and parents can use together to familiarize themselves with PPE, understand why people wear it, and express any emotion they’re feeling about it.”

The PPE coloring book is compiled using medical clip art and inspiration from child life specialists and artistic skills of a palliative care nurse practitioner. Intermountain Healthcare officials say it’s available to all patients in English and in Spanish when they arrive at Primary Children’s.

Children in other Intermountain Healthcare hospitals throughout Utah also can receive a coloring book from their child life specialist or nurse.

“The pandemic has been hard on kids with the visitor restrictions and siblings being unable to visit them,” Vitela said. “Even though some of the restrictions are being lifted, it’s a difficult time. We’ll keep making the effort to make the hospital a welcoming place for kids and helping them feel more comfortable.”

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