We have all heard the saying that Knowledge is Power, and I live by that belief. By empowering our youngest patients and their families, we’re able to optimize the care we provide, improve our outcomes, and truly practice family-centered care.
As a regional program consultant, I have a role in ensuring that resources are available to families requiring services from the Children’s and Women’s Health Program. I’m often called upon to assist staff in providing resources to families after a new, life-altering diagnosis, or the loss of a child, sibling, or pregnancy – or to offer information that helps them to prepare for surgery or other procedures.
I love being able to ensure families have the resources and support they need during some of the most difficult times in their lives. I always refer them to the Janeway Resource Centre where there are resources available for all age groups within the pediatric population – to help them and their families to understand an illness, treatment, or behavioral challenge.
The Centre is a welcoming space with books, computers, toys, a kitchenette, and a quiet room. Families enjoy dropping by as a distraction from what can often be a stressful, hospital environment.
The Centre is a comfortable, stress-free place for families and individuals to obtain information about their health – in person, or from anywhere within our province. The services offered by the Janeway Resource Centre include a lending library, sharing of electronic resources, providing support to specialized groups, and the Janeway Reading Program.
There is a librarian available to discuss the needs of the individual or family and to recommend helpful resources, based on their individual health and well-being. Books can be borrowed in person, through e-mail, or by phone, and can be mailed anywhere within the province with a self-addressed, prepaid return envelope.
In addition to the librarian, there are many volunteers who assist with the programs offered through the Centre. Volunteers are available to read to children, both within the centre and in the clinical setting, to do arts and crafts; deliver books to patients or families admitted to hospital; and much more.
The Janeway Reading Program is much loved by all who’ve had the opportunity to experience it! Volunteers visit the inpatient units of the Janeway, the emergency department, and outpatient clinics – and offer to read books to the children. For those waiting in the emergency department, it has been a welcome distraction for the sick child, as well as any siblings who might be there.
On the inpatient units, while the children enjoy story time, parents appreciate the opportunity to take a much needed break.
Since children primarily learn through play, reading to them about their illness or procedure is a great way to prepare them for what to expect.
When I was a staff nurse working in the perioperative department in the Janeway, I saw firsthand how beneficial it was to prepare children for surgery by reading to them. Some parents chose not to tell their child why they were coming to the Janeway until they arrived – and more often than not, the child was distressed and traumatized by the process of having to leave their parents, and walk down an unfamiliar corridor into a ‘scary room’ with strangers wearing operating room hats and masks.
On the other hand, children whose parents spoke to them about the process and read them stories such as “Franklin Goes to the Hospital” and “The Surgery Book for Kids” prior to coming to the Janeway, were much happier and could anticipate what to expect during their stay.
The Reading Program would not be possible without our volunteers or the generosity of the Janeway Foundation and the public. All of our resources are either purchased through donations, or are donated from organizations and individuals.
The Janeway Resource Centre is also involved in community outreach, and has worked with the provincial department of education and early childhood development to help improve children’s literacy and take a proactive approach to health and well-being. Our librarian has collaborated with schools to speak to teachers and parents to promote resources on topics such as:
- mental health (both for child or parents who are not well);
- controlling emotions;
- anxiety (separation anxiety, worrying);
- relationships (siblings, friendship, divorce, adoption and foster care);
- grief and loss;
- health and fitness/nutrition; and
- chronic illness/disease/disabilities and special needs/inclusion.
In addition to books and online resources, the Janeway Resource Centre’s other local resources include pamphlets/brochures of what to expect before, during and after surgery, information for care at home, and information on procedures/treatments. These resources are available to the public via the Centre’s website, with access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The services offered by the Centre are in keeping with Eastern Health’s vision of Healthy People, Healthy Communities. By providing reliable health information, the Centre ensures that individuals have access to the knowledge they need to be as informed and healthy as they can be!
For more information or to request resources/services, please contact the Janeway Resource Centre by phone at 777-2946; by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit their website at http://www.janewayresourcecentre.ca ■
This story was written by Crystal Northcott, a Children’s and Women’s Health program consultant at Eastern Health.