What makes Covenant Children’s a true children’s hospital?
It’s not just the range of pediatric services you can find in the kids’ floors and wings of many adult-focused hospitals. It isn’t just an entire building full of kid-sized rooms and equipment. Covenant is the West Texas and Eastern New Mexico region’s first and only freestanding Children’s Hospital, not only because it’s licensed as such by CMS, but also because every member of the staff is dedicated to, and specially trained in, caring for children—holistically.
A primary component of any children’s hospital is a full range of pediatric services under one roof—which Covenant certainly has. From an ER with a focus on Level II pediatric trauma to a Level-IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to pediatric oncology, gastroenterology, and cardiology to respiratory and physical therapy to pediatric anesthesiology and surgery, Covenant is truly a full-service hospital for children.
But Covenant doesn’t stop at promoting the child’s physical well-being. The staff and administration realize they also have a responsibility to heal the young patients’ minds and spirits, too.
What makes a children’s hospital? Treating a kid’s body, mind, and spirit
How much do you know about children’s health?
Take our quiz to find out.
For instance, Covenant employs clinicians trained and experienced in developmental and family work. They do everything from provide educational support to children on specific procedures, like using dolls to explain port placement to cancer patients prior to surgery to teaching parents how to hold their child in certain ways during IV installation to reduce anxiety.
“Medical trauma is scary,” says Neugebauer. “These specialists are great at helping patients and parents develop positive coping skills.”
At Covenant, this is accomplished through verbal, music, and art therapy, but also through something very basic to children: play. The hospital has three therapeutic playrooms geared to toddlers, preschoolers, tweens, and teens, and other safe spaces for patients to temporarily escape their rooms. And if they are unable to leave their beds, Covenant tries to normalize play at the bedside, through portable video games and making “slime.”
“When you engage in play, you’re mindfully involved. You could be squishing slime to get the energy and fear out. You’re also more open to talking and trusting when you’re playing,” says Neugebauer. “Helping patients process through play is at the core of what it really means to be a children’s hospital.”
Covenant’s Department of Integrative Care provides children and families with developmental, educational, and expressive opportunities. These services are designed to help patients and loved ones deal with their illness or injury, their recovery, and the hospitalization itself.
“Our department is the developmental, psychological, and social core of Covenant,” says Christine Neugebauer, manager of the Department of Integrative Care. “It’s about helping children and families deal with pain and anxiety and empowering family to advocate for their kids and provide support and education.”
“Helping patients process through play is at the core of what it really means to be a children’s hospital.”