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Ambulance play structure helps kids cope in hospital

A custom-made ambulance play structure has been installed in the Child Life Zone in the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, thanks to the generosity of Crestline Coach.

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation first had the opportunity to work with Crestline on the construction of the new pediatric ambulance back in 2016, through a partnership with Synergy 8 Community Builders and the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. When approached with the idea to replicate this ambulance in the new Child Life Zone, Crestline was excited and quickly enlisted a volunteer committee to custom-design and manufacture the ambulance play structure.

Crestline Coach Ltd. is a global leader in ambulance and specialty vehicle manufacturing and a Canadian supplier of small to mid-sized commercial buses.

“As an organization deeply rooted in Saskatchewan, we wanted to find a way to engage our employees because we knew this initiative was incredibly meaningful for our province and our local community,” shared Richard Valenti, Vice President of Operations at Crestline Coach. “Our employees were eager to selflessly and passionately donate their personal time and talents towards a community project that will result in providing a little bit of happiness for sick children during their stay at the hospital.”

The ambulance play structure is part of the Child Life Zone in Saskatchewan’s new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. The 2,800 square foot space on the main floor of the hospital is designed for pediatric patients and their families to play, learn, laugh and relax. Providing dramatic play opportunities is especially important in a hospital setting because it allows children to explore their feelings and thoughts about their experience. This helps children understand what has happened or what can happen to them, and in turn helps to build their confidence and sense of control. It is important to constantly assess a patient’s understanding of their experience, in order for them to build strong coping skills. Child Life Specialists in hospital work with patients to reflect the child’s expressions back to them. The more information and knowledge children have about their world, the more coping skills they can build, making their hospital experience positive, instead of scary or traumatic.

“We are grateful for Crestline’s incredible generosity, as this impressive play structure is such an exciting element in the Child Life Zone,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Just as the pediatric ambulance cares for kids across the province, this replica will further educate children in hospital to become more familiar with medical transport and the equipment required. This is an added opportunity to replace fear of ambulance procedures with understanding through playful simulation.”

The Child Life Zone was created in partnership with country music legend Garth Brooks and his Teammates for Kids Foundation, The Mosaic Company and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. This space is the first of its kind in Canada, joining 11 other Child Life Zones across North America.

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