Patients at Primary Children’s have fun making masks

Posted at 9:19 PM, Sep 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-26 13:03:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Shaylee Hunter is on the road to recovery after suffering from a serious blood infection. The 14-year-old's daily life has been filled with multiple treatments this past week. But on Tuesday she experienced a small respite from the stress of dealing with sickness.

Shaylee, along with many other children at Primary Children's Medical Center, was busy getting creative making Halloween masks. 

"It kind of gets your mind off what's going on with, like, why you're in the hospital," Shaylee said.

Child life specialists at the hospital say hands-on activities can help sick or injured children ease the pain both mentally and physically.

"Playing and engaging in arts and crafts and making something that you're really happy with, can make you feel better," said Primary Children's Child Life specialist Holly Moss-Rosen. "When you offer something that's familiar, it helps kids feel a sense of control and they feel more competent."

According to Primary Children's staff, children who suffer from nervous behaviors may find help in drawing as a release. And children under stress could benefit from writing.

"Being able to journal or being able to create an image of your happy, favorite, wonderful safe place can be a great ways to visualize when you are having a challenging moment," said Moss-Rosen.

Specialists say building confidence and reassuring children can be some of the best medicine. 

"Anything that we can do to help increase kids feeling comfort and decrease their stress is great," said Moss-Rosen.