Back to top

A nursing programme to raise the spirits of children hospitalised in isolation

The nurses of the Hematopoietic Progenitor Transplant (HPT) Unit of the Hospital carry out initiatives to humanise long-term care for children.

Published in:
30 June 2022
One of the HPT patient poses beneath her symbolic trophy after her transplant
One of the HPT patient poses beneath her symbolic trophy after her transplant
https://www.sjdhospitalbarcelona.org/sites/default/files/u1/Sala_premsa/Noticias/2022/programa-enfermeria-tph-dia-despues-hospital-sant-joan-deu.jpg

Children who receive a bone marrow transplant –as a consequence of cancer, or an immunological or haematological disease– have to spend months in isolation, shut in a hospital room with just the company of a single family member. On top of that, in many cases they receive therapies that require them to follow habits that are hard for children to follow, such as drinking a minimum amount of water during the day or showering every four hours.

In order to enliven the spirits of these patients and their families, and motivate them to comply with the treatments, the nurses of the Hematopoietic Progenitor Transplant Unit (HPT) of SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital carry out initiatives to humanise the care they give.

They welcome the children with a personalised sign when they enter the unit, so they can begin to claim the space as their own and feel good about the room where they will spend months. They give the boys and girls a medal if they have had fever or rough nights, and a special cup when they drink the amount of water marked by the treatment. The nurses design a special poster for them when the children receive the great news that the transplant is over. They also leave envelopes with little games for the children to find when they wake up. They even make small ornaments to celebrate the holidays, such as Carnival, or a small gift on their birthday. They do all these initiatives by customising them to the preferences of each boy and girl.

A study to analyse the impact of actions on the patient and their family

These little details and games are so valuable to those who receive them. "We started doing these gamification interventions spontaneously," says Carme Coma, a nurse who has been working in the HPT Unit for three years. "We quickly realised that they reduced the child's fear, and created a bond of trust and complicity between the patient and their families and the care team, which is extremely important." Her colleague, Vicky Molinillo, who has been working in the same unit for a year and a half, adds that "it also helps them to keep more entertained throughout the day and not lose track of time, something that usually happens when they are isolated."

The two nurses have integrated all these initiatives into a programme they have called "The day-after surprise", because it is mostly the night shift nurses who put these arrangements together. As part of the project, they have created a document with all the different actions so that professionals from other services of the centre or other transplant units can replicate them. They have also decided to start a study to be able to assess and demonstrate through data the effect that all these initiatives have had on patients and their families.

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu https://www.sjdhospitalbarcelona.org/sites/default/themes/hsjd/logo.svg
A nursing programme to raise the spirits of children hospitalised in isolation