/ by Ashlee Olson, CCLS
Written by Ashlee Olson, CCLS, a Child Life specialist at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
Imagine you are 5 years old and in the emergency room for the first time ever. A nurse tells you that you are going to get an IV, but you have no idea what an IV is. Now you're more confused because more nurses have come in to the room, too. Even though your parents are trying to soothe you, their voices on top of all the others' add to your distress.
The hospital can already be a scary place for a kid, especially when they have to undergo a medical procedure. The procedure itself can become even more overwhelming for a child if their parents, nurses and doctors are all talking at the same time.
What is One Voice?
Child Life specialists help make medical procedures less intimidating for young patients by using One Voice, a concept that is used in more than 100 hospitals. Its purpose is to cut down on added stimulation to create a less-threatening and more kid-friendly environment.
If your child is in the hospital, a Child Life specialist can help prepare a coping plan with you and your kid before the procedure. You can help your kid decide which distractions they'd like to have during the procedure, and your child can also pick out a comfort hold. Comfort holds are key during any procedure where a patient may not be able to hold still on their own because they allow the child to feel safe in the arms of a caregiver they trust.
One Voice comes into play at the start of the procedure. With One Voice, your child will only hear one person speaking throughout the entire procedure. For example, if the Child Life specialist is designated as this person, they can provide distractions, such as blowing bubbles, and help coach your child through the procedure. Only having one voice will eliminate unnecessary stimuli to help keep your kid more calm.
One Voice has produced wonderful results because it creates a calmer environment for not only the patient but also the staff. It allows the team to collaborate and work together to provide the best patient care possible.