When children require long term medical care, they are often subject to numerous pokes and prods in order to monitor and treat their conditions. One program at Chidre’s hospital in Pittsburgh is helping to relieve these fears and pain through the Beads of Courage program. For every poke they receive, they also receive a bead from a volunteer who hands them out three days a week.
There are different colors for different procedures. An inpatient admission bead is yellow, and a test bead is light green. There are also special milestone beads for transplants, birthdays, hospital stays, and discharges or other events. Children can then hold the beads while they wait for treatment as a source of comfort. They can spell out their names or other messages. They also receive a journal for their parents to keep track of what they go through.

The program is currently for children in the heart center, the first in the country to do this. Other hospitals use them with the cancer patients. Children’s is trying to expand the program to other centers in the hospital. Currently, a kit containing beads and bead journals is about $3,000. Over 100 children are enrolled in the program and costs about $20 per child. The Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) sponsors the program with help from donations made to the heart center to purchase the beads.


For related articles visit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07171/795370-114.stm and http://www.beadsofcourage.net/.

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