Posts tagged ‘Child Life program’

Man’s Best Friend Puts Young Patients at Ease

A Golden Retriever wearing a scarf sits on a radiology table with a three-year-old boy. The boy is wearing a hospital smock decorated with tigers. He is smiling and has his arm around the dog. In the background are radiology scanning equipment and a mural of a tree with birds.

Kaia helps Koltin Mason, a pediatric patient from York, get comfortable with the radiology equipment before his appointment in pediatric radiology.

By Marianne Clay

Four-year-old “Jake” wails as he crumples into a corner. Ten feet away looms a large, box-like machine, a CT scanner. For the last half hour, Jake’s parents, a Child Life specialist and a CT technician at Penn State Children’s Hospital, have been trying to both comfort and convince Jake to lie down on the scanner’s table at the machine’s center. “Look,” they say softly, “the table goes in and out of the tunnel like a train.” Their coaxing is not soothing Jake. Will Jake, like other young children, require anesthesia before they can perform this test?

“Kaia,” a pediatric radiologist suggests. “Let’s try Kaia.”

Kaia’s secondary handler and Child Life specialist for pediatric radiology, Alicia Cesare, quickly calls for Kaia. A few minutes later, a 50-pound golden retriever enters the room, her tail gently wagging. Ashley Kane, Child Life Program manager at the Children’s Hospital and Kaia’s handler, aka “mom,” walks over to Jake. Kaia slowly nuzzles the boy. Quietly, the dog and Jake visit together, and soon Kane and Cesare ask Kaia to climb on the scanner table. Kaia loves climbing on tables and looks so happy that Jake follows her. He pets Kaia. Eventually, he climbs on the table and lays down next to Kaia.

Kane suggests Jake give Kaia a high-five, so the boy raises his hands above his head, putting himself in perfect position for the scan. Kane whisks Kaia out of the room, while Jake’s parents stand nearby during his scan. Within moments, it’s finished, and Kane races Kaia back to rejoin Jake.


March 20, 2018 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

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