Donated comfort kits help kids through hospital visits
Kelly Macheska, a nurse and manager of Monongahela Valley Hospital's emergency department, knows that an ambulance ride, medical procedure or a visit to the emergency department can be a scary experience for children.
Macheska recently connected with a Connecticut company and secured 100 Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits to help her young patients relax and feel less frightened.
Guideposts Outreach, a nondenominational, faith-based organization, distributes the kits to help children ages 4 to 13 through trying health care situations.
Macheska said her staff already has used the first 100 kits, and she's ordered another 100.
"I knew someone at a children's hospital who told me about the kits, and (Guideposts') donors were generous enough to supply us at MVH as well," Macheska said at a recent meeting with the program's representatives. "We serve a large pediatric population, and these kits have been such an asset to us when we're caring for children and their families."
She said her staff give the kits to children who are admitted to the hospital and to any child having a procedure in the emergency department. She said the kits help distract children and take their minds off of their fears.
"In transporting children, the kits have really been a big hit, especially because only one parent can travel in an ambulance with the child," Macheska said. "It's the little things that make a difference, and these kits benefit the children, their families and the hospital."
The kits are a hit
The kits, which cost Guideposts Outreach about $8 each, come with a keepsake box to store the contents plus a child's other personal possessions. Young patients also receive Sparkle the Caring Star pillow and a bracelet that says, "I'm special," to reassure the children.
Other items include stickers, an inspirational prayer card, a Special Care Journal with crayons to write or color, a personalized star sheet, a blue stress foam squeeze ball and a "My Special Care" CD.
The organization distributes them to hospitals and children's hospitals, as well as to organizations serving sick and injured children.
"We found that the kids can use the stickers to connect with doctors and nurses, and the journal can help express complicated feelings through pictures or words," said former nurse Joyce C. Krauchuk, the Guideposts Outreach volunteer from Slippery Rock who helped Macheska bring the kits to MVH. "One chaplain told me it's a real icebreaker, too, that he has something to talk about with the kids."
According to Rhonda Neal, manager of Guideposts Outreach in Danbury, Conn., her organization created the comfort kit program nearly six years ago and has distributed them to 75,000 children in 43 states.
She said Florida and Pennsylvania, respectively, have received the most kits this past year. Through the efforts of her new volunteer, Krauchuk, the donations have spread far beyond the one original children's hospital in eastern Pennsylvania that first used the kits.
"We have gracious donors who contribute to make these kits available and we want them to know that they are helping comfort children," said Neal, who visited Pennsylvania recently for fundraising meetings.
The program is supported by donors and the proceeds of Guideposts publications such as magazines, books, calendars and cards. She said the group's goal is to reach 100,000 children in every state in the nation.
"Most people have heard of Guideposts magazine but not about all of the outreach we do," Neal said.
Contact Guideposts Outreach about donations for the kits distributed at MVH by calling 203-749-0404.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Harrison eyes stretch run
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Warrants issued for women accused of prostitution in New Stanton sting
- NFL notebook: Gifford had CTE, family says
- Starkey: Artie Rowell’s incredible odyssey
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Russia’s crackdown in predominantly Muslim region fuels exodus to ISIS
- Obama signs $607B Defense bill but blasts GOP limits for Gitmo
- Pizza delivery woman robbed in Greensburg
- ‘Crisis mode’ near at U.S.-Mexico line as nearly 5,000 children try to cross border in October