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Sunday, May 31, 2009

We're going to put on your magic cream: Medical play

Cori Liptak on medical play [excerpted from this article about Cori Liptak’s work]:

Sometimes children aren't sedated for difficult procedures, and they need to sit still, and we help them to get through it. We can do work ahead of time to help them prepare so they understand what their job is throughout the course of the procedure. They might say, "Cori, I'm going to sit like a statue right now." Anytime you get to witness a child using something you taught and be successful as a result, that's rewarding.

For instance, when I use medical play with a child and see him stop giving the puppet lots of shots, and instead hear him say, "We're now going to put on your magic cream. It's numbing and you're not going to feel a thing. Don't be scared!" I’m watching him evolve in his ability to cope, and that transfers over into his real-life experience.

These behavioral interventions play a role in helping children master their situation medically.

Advice to parents: Role-playing a medical appointment with your child might make them less fearful.

Read about a very different kind of medical simulation.

Thanks to Cori Liptak, PhD, for the source article in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Paths of Progress, edited by Dawn Stapleton, and published by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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