To help kids, Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital uses powerful medicine. And powerful magic.
The Medical Perspective on Bedside Magic: An Interview with Lisa Boland, the Manager of Child Life Services at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital.
Q: I understand Hope Children’s Hospital doubled the Open Heart Magic programs in 2010. Can you tell me about that?
We started with one bedside magician, but we soon realized one magician was not enough for the volume of patients we have. The feedback was so wonderful on the magic, we knew we needed more.
Q: From a medical point of view, how do you think OHM helps with the care Hope Children’s Hospital is providing its pediatric patients?
Magic helps our young patients relax and engage. It helps them cope with being in a hospital. In the case of long-term patients, it helps them deal with the emotional impact of chronic hospitalization. You see these patients’ demeanor. It’s often flat, depressed. Then the Bedside Magician goes into the room and it’s really something positive. It relaxing. It’s entertaining. It makes the kids laugh, which we all know releases endorphins. It takes their minds off why they’re in a hospital. It helps them forget.
Q: Do you think Bedside Magic has any impact on parents and siblings in the room? If so, what?
At Child Life, we focus on treating the whole family. So does Open Heart Magic. The magician in the room is helping the patient, parents, siblings, whoever’s in the room. The smiling, laughing and entertaining involves everybody. It takes the tension out. It’s a real stress release for everyone. The magician will get the parent to be part of the magic. The kids love to see it. Also, the magician goes into rooms where the kids aren’t able to come out.
Q: What do the nurses and doctors think of the magic?
Our nurses and doctors love it. Everybody’s excited when the Magician is coming. They want to make sure their patient is on the list for a visit. We hear from nurses and doctors how their patients want to try out tricks on them. For anyone treating a child, something that puts a smile on their faces means so much. For staff, that smile is a bonus.
Q: How does bedside magic help Child Life?
Our goal is normalization for the child and empowerment. We provide choices to give our patients as much control as possible. Open Heart Magic gives kids choices too. Learning magic and being able to show it to others is empowering. You watch kids come out of their shells. The magic helps our staff in building rapport. You can say: “Hey, can you show me that trick?” When you enter a hospital, you give up all control. Open Heart Magic gives it back.
Q: Unlike other Bedside Programs, Open Heart Magic sees children with all different diseases, illnesses or injuries. Why do you think that is important?
We don’t know how a child is feeling. We can’t judge which kid’s in worse condition. A kid can have a broken leg. A kid can have cancer. The child with cancer may actually be coping better that the child with the broken leg. We don’t decide who gets that extra help. Everybody has a right to laugh, to relax, to cope better…regardless of their diagnosis. With Open Heart Magic, we give all our kids something to feel better.
Q: Would you recommend OHM to other hospitals?
Yes, 100%. There’s something about magic that makes you feel better. First, the magician shows the kids a trick. Then they show them how to do it. Everyone wants to know how they did the trick. The magicians build relationships with the kids. This is especially positive for chronic, long-term patients. They see the magicians come back. The magicians of Open Heart Magic are an essential part of the healing process. It’s not all about medicine. Magic is medicine, too. Our nurses make follow-up calls after patients leave. Families always mention the magic. It’s the same thing on our customer satisfaction reply cards. Patients love the magic.
Interested in Volunteering?
You can be a Hospital Magician.
You will be reaching kids one-on-one at their hospital bedsides, making them laugh again and helping them bring back their own sense of magic. Click here for more information on how to volunteer and bring magic to kids at their hospital bedsides.
Are you a runner?
Run to bring laughter and empowerment to more kids in hospitals. Learn about the Open Heart Charity Team and see how you can run and make a difference.
Help us grow the program to more kids.
Donate and support bedside magic and laughter for kids in hospitals. It truly makes a difference.