Ochsner Children's Medical Center - Child Life Department
Guidelines for community group/entertainers visiting Ochsner Clinic Foundation's Pediatrics population
Thank you for your interest or sharing your talents at Ochsner Clinic Foundation. To help your group plan an effective, enjoyable visit for our patients, we ask that you observe the following guidelines.
- Because our children come from a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, hospital policy requires that no religious literature be distributed to patients and families, or left in public areas on hospital property. Please do not include religious themes in presentations or songs.
- Age-appropriate gifts, toys or favors may be brought for children with the prior approval of the Child Life Department. Latex balloons cannot be given to children because some of the patients may be highly allergic to latex products. Contact with latex, including balloons, could be life threatening to certain patients. Mylar balloons are acceptable. Food treats are not recommended however, store-bought cookies or individually wrapped candy may be given if approved. No homemade food items, popcorn or peanuts may be given to children. Due to HIPPA guidelines and Ochsner's strive to maintain confidentiality, the Child Life staff or Nursing staff will distribute the toys/donation to the patients and families.
- Due to patient privacy, no photographs of patients or families are permitted. You can take pictures of your group at Ochsner, but please refrain from including the patients.
Please review these suggestions with your group before visiting Ochsner Clinic Foundation:
- Be aware that the reactions of children in the hospital differ from other children; expressions of appreciation or affection may be restrained.
- Approach children slowly allowing them to decide to what extent they wish to interact with you. If a child shows any resistance, please move away.
- In order to maintain a safe, non-threatening environment, Ochsner requests that all participating groups keep voice levels low. Unfamiliar faces accompanied by a high noise level can be very overwhelming for hospitalized children.
- Greet hospitalized children as you would other children. Please avoid questions such as: "What's wrong with you?" "Why are you here?" and "When are you going home?" Also, statements such as "Get well quick" and "See you next time" are often confusing to hospitalized children.
- To protect the patient's and family's rights for privacy, hospital staff members are unable to disclose information regarding the patients' reason for hospitalization.
- The Child Life Department can only provide an estimate of the number of children that may participate in the planned activity, because the patient census changes daily. Pediatric patients are always given the choice by the Child Life Department to decide whether or not they will participate in the volunteer event; therefore an exact number of patients participating cannot be given.
- The Child Life Department informs patients of upcoming visitors on a regular basis; therefore, we expect that visiting groups will follow through with their commitment. Please let the Child Life staff know at least 2 weeks in advance if the group has to cancel the visit.
- Please avoid using medical humor of any kind; children have a tendency to misunderstand and think you are making fun of them or that something may actually happen to them.
- If your organization plans to bring gifts to present during the organized activity, please do not wrap the gifts in advance. All items must be approved by the Child Life Department in advance to ensure patient safety.
Volunteer groups interested in visiting, click here to fill out and submit a scheduling form.
Ideas for community service projects:
[Note: these projects can be scheduled Monday-Friday from 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. The group size is limited to 12 people, and must include those over 14 years of age (and must include 1 adult chaperone per three youths under age 18).]
- School boxes filled with crayons, pencils, glue, and scissors are helpful for patients working on homework assignments and projects.
- Coloring sheet packets with crayons in a large Ziploc bag (these work well for patients seen in the outpatient clinics and surgery areas.
- Music tapes- make audiotapes with a collection of children's or teen music OR books on tape (songs and stories must be religiously neutral).
- Collect fun kid band-aids (for use in both the hospital and in the outpatient clinics)- must say latex free on the box.
- Stickers with cartoon characters are helpful in providing patients with rewards and incentives.
- Book drive (I Spy, Where's Waldo, sound books, picture books.)
- DVD and video game drives for patient diversional activities. (All video games must be "E" for everyone.)
- Toiletry kits of travel size items (for parents and young adults) toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, deodorant, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, cotton balls placed in Ziploc bags.
- Toy drives for gifts to give children at birthday parties, "No More Chemo" parties, or holidays.
- Art activity- group would plan, provide materials, and assist hospitalized children and teens in completing individual project.
- Theme party- group would supply decorations and assist children in activities, games, or other special events surrounding theme such as summer, winter, sports, etc.
- Musical or short-skit performance- group would provide instruments, props and supplies needed to entertain patients for a 30-minute performance.
ITEMS THAT CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AS TOY DONATIONS:
- Used stuffed animals, toys, or clothing.
- Latex balloons
- Most food items
- Games, toys, video games, or movies that are violent or inappropriate for children.
For a listing of accepted donation items by the Child Life Department, click here.
Please refer to the Child Life Department, (504)842-2032, if you have any questions or concerns.