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Release: March 15, 1999

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics focuses on pediatric health care

EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete list of events is available by contacting Gwen Senio, (319) 356-1103.

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Every day, thousands of children visit hospitals across North America for treatment of illnesses or injuries. For a child, the hospital can be a big, scary place. The Children's Hospital of Iowa (CHI) at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics will attempt to address some of those fears during Children and Healthcare Week March 21-27.

One of the main goals of this event is to raise public and professional consciousness concerning the needs of children and their families in health care settings. Emphasis is placed on helping them understand what to expect during a hospital stay.

"The purpose of the activities and programs we offer during Children and Healthcare Week is to take the mystery and fear out of hospital experiences. These events provide an opportunity to increase public and professional awareness of the unique needs of children and their families," said Gwen Senio, coordinator of the Child Life Program at the UIHC.

The week will begin with "Hurt Alert Day" Monday, March 22 as a way to help pediatric patients learn appropriate techniques for coping with painful or frightening procedures. Other events scheduled throughout the week include "Look Good, Feel Better, Say Cheese," an opportunity for children to dress up and have their pictures taken; a clown scavenger hunt; and a children's carnival. These events have been planned by staff members from different units at the CHI for in-house patients and their families.

This year's theme, "Partners for Pediatric Pain Management," reflects the united commitment of health professionals and parents to explore and communicate the essential components of pediatric pain management. The CHI practices a family-centered approach to health care and emphasizes ongoing and open communication among all the individuals on the health care team, including the patient and the family.

"We hope the community will join us in exploring ways in which health care providers can better respond to the emotional and developmental needs of children while honoring excellence across the continuum of pediatric health care," Senio said.

For more information about Children and Healthcare Week, contact Gwen Senio in the Child Life Program at (319) 356-4469, pager 1825.