THE ACCO MEDICAL PLAY KIT
It is natural for any child to be fearful of new experiences and strange environments—for children with cancer, the hospital can quickly become a scary, confusing place that they associate with pain and sickness. The ACCO’s Medical Play Kit is a free resource designed to familiarize children battling cancer with many of the medical instruments they will encounter during their hospital stays. We hope to empower children by helping them become more comfortable in a hospital environment and giving them the opportunity to play the role of doctor/caregiver rather than be forced into the role of patient.
Kids can test out their Medical Play Kit supplies on Cozy the Port-a-Cat, the soft, snuggly stuffed animal that serves as both a teaching tool and a companion for children before, during, and after their cancer treatment. Available for free to all children with cancer, Cozy cat has strategically-placed patches that represent port access, bone marrow aspirate, spinal tap, gastrostomy tube (g-tube), and a hand IV. With Cozy as a guide, children can use their medical play kit to see where a particular procedure will take place, and he or she can even watch Cozy have the procedure first!
One of the strongest types of fear is that of the unknown— by giving children the opportunity to better understand and mentally prepare for upcoming tests or treatments, the Medical Play Kit helps to move formerly scary/unknown procedures into the familiar category, thereby easing the child’s anxiety and fear related to certain aspects of treatment.
Each Medical Play Kit includes:
- Arm board: similar to what children have when they give blood or have IVs inserted,
- Stethoscope: allows the child to listen to their own heart and lungs, or to practice listening to the hearts and lungs of their ‘patients’ (i.e. Cozy the cat, family members),
- Self-adherent wrap tape: closely resembles the medical wrap used to help hold the child’s arm to the board and/or to wrap the child’s arm after giving blood or having an IV placed,
- Thermometer: gives children the opportunity to pretend to take their own temperature or practice on others,
- Medical tape: used to wrap up “boo boos” or to protect areas where children have had biopsies, surgeries, etc.,
- Travel pill case and Band-Aid holder: includes a pill case for the child’s medications and a tin of Band-aids,
- Pill bottle with gold top: easy-open bottle the child can use when playing with the kit,
- Tubing (central line), 50cc syringe, and 5cc syringe: the tubing in the kit closely simulates the tubing children are given for their ports/central lines. Kids are better able to understand the potentially intimidating port/central line access by performing the procedure on Cozy Cat. The small 5cc syringe is for use at the end of the central line tubing. The larger 50cc syringe can be used to simulate administration of other meds, perhaps even oral medications. The 50cc syringe also makes a GREAT squirt gun!
- Rubber gloves and two face masks (one for the child, one for their “patient” or Cozy Cat): rubber gloves and face masks in a hospital setting can be very disconcerting to a child, but after playing with these items and wearing the soft masks with cozy cat nose and whiskers, these formerly frightening pieces of medical gear become familiar and non-threatening.
**ONE kit is available per child currently receiving cancer treatment.