“Recovery Radio”, “Holiday Hams”, “Hospital’s Hobby Haven”, “Crib Notes”

Posted: November 11, 2009 in Uncategorized
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     1.  Recovery Radio:    

     Soothing music – Infrared remote controllable I-Pods along with a small audio amplifier-sewn into a pocket in the wall side, bottom margin corner of the “distraction therapy” curtain, with two speaker wires in a flat rubber runner, running on the floor by the wall to the pt.bed (programmed with choices of classical, contemporary,christian,country,instrumental music)  to be plugged into a PILLOWSONIC tm “under the pillow” speaker, (or ear buds) extension cord for the pt.-with idyllic, pastoral scenes on patient privacy curtains (now called “distraction therapy” or “guided imagery curtains”)are needed in hospital rooms. Custom scene selection of these high quality silkscreened pictures could be chosen by the pt. or patient’s family (choices of medieval castle scenes, New England villages, quaint English villages, father and son fly fishing mtn. streams,horses grazing rolling pastures, puppies and kittens playing etc.). This aspect of the project would be especially valuable in nursing home or hospice settings.    

     Another possible benefit of the use of these curtains is the possibly beneficial improvement of the psyche of the caregiver who looks the myriad of high quality images on these curtains for several hours each day.     

     Virtual reality glasses are expensive, have the possibility of being dislodged and broken, must be monitored closely and may become uncomfortable to use (the patient may not be able to move his/her head during use).      

     Dr. Yosaif August in Seattle has been producing choices of “Bedscapes” distraction curtains with the ocean sounds coming through the room’s television speakers. My idea takes this a step furthe

      2. Holiday Hams: 

       Young  children believe in fantasy creatures and “Super-Heroes” are important to them. The following narrative was taken from the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital  website ( Please know that no one at St. Jude’s  Children’s Research Hospital  is endorsing any of my ideas. I am giving you this narrative for your information only.):    

     “With pomp and circumstance, Angie Koeneker presents the colorful sticker. “Captain Cooperation, for holding still during your blood draw, you have earned this medal!” Ceremoniously, she places the “medal” on the super hero’s small cape. Grinning, 5-year-old Landon Brereton twists his cape around to admire his latest medal of honor. Everyone cheers; his parents and nurses smile with pride and relief.      Before Koeneker presented the young patient with his cape—transforming the small boy into a powerful super hero—Landon had barely been able to pass through the front door of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital without crying.

     “He was having a really tough time coming here. Even the parking lot upset him. He was scared and anxious, plus he felt awful. The nurses had difficulty assessing him,” says Koeneker, a Child Life specialist.

     After discovering that the little guy liked super heroes, Koeneker bought him a cape and, across the back, wrote “Captain Cooperation” in big, emphatic letters.“His nurses and I gave it to him and explained that he didn’t have to be happy when he came to the hospital but, being a superhero, he’d have to use his powers to help the doctors and nurses try to help his body get better. Every time Landon cooperated, he would earn a new sticker—a new medal of honor,” she says. “Our ‘captain’ was able to use his cape as a way to cope with what he was going through at St. Jude until he didn’t need it anymore.”

     At Christmas, 2003, young patients at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls were thrilled to talk directly to Santa and his elves at their workshop at the North Pole via the magical amateur radio. “Rudolph” was also interviewed by the young hospitalized patients. Like the patients, he was a little “under the weather” that day. You see, he ate too many carrots and had an upset stomach.

      The preschool pt. parents could be interviewed and the pt would listen/talk to pt.’s favorite fantasy hero over the strange/magical amateur radio tell the patient how special and thought of he/she will be during the patients’ illness. The sick child may be too ill to talk, but the pt. would benefit from knowing that the pt.s’ fantasy hero is thinking about the patient and thinks that the preschool pt. is special and that perhaps they can talk again when the patient is feeling better.These thoughts may give the very sick child the willpower to fight the illness that is consuming his/her young body. Disneyland is built on this type of fantasy.  “Super Hero actors”, in Superhero costume are often asked to visit chidrens’ birthday parties and other events.  If a licensed amateur radio operator is not available, the hospital maintenance department’s own business band radios can be used. “Personal Communication Service”  (PCS) or “Family Radio Service” (FRS) hand held “walkie talkies” can be purchased at Walmart or Radio Shack and used for this purpose after the in house biomedical engineers have given their approval for this use. I feel that it is important that a communication device other than a cell phone is used. The “magic”  is lost if an electronic device is used that the young patient has seen before.  Perhaps Microsoft and/or Apple corporate scientists would be willing to develop a “PalmPilot” sized invention. This invention would have lots of magical, mystical lights and buttons and would actually be an internet capable handheld sized computer. The dialogue and patient-fantasy creature interaction would be performed via the internet. If this invention is used only for this purpose, it would be new, magical and mystical for the child. Perhaps the  child life specialist would be willing to say that this strange machine was invented because the child is special, important, and loved. Perhaps RFI testing would not have to be done if these types of new computers are used.

     Another way to obtain the needed benefits to the young patient of his/her thoughts about being “special and thought of ” by the young patient’s favorite fantasy hero would be to have a local actor’s theatre group donate their time to prerecord a message on CD for the young patient. The message would state that “This is a message to _____ (patient’s first name) now being treated at ______ (name of the hospital). This is _______  (child’s favorite fantasy hero’s name) in the land of make believe. The Tooth Fairy (or other fantasy creature) told me that you are ill. I just wanted you to know that all of us here in the land of fantasy are thinking of you, think that you are very special and I hope that I can talk to you again when you are feeling better.” This would be the end of the prerecorded message and this message would then be personalized with the patient’s name in the message, hospital’s name in this message and the pt.’s fantasy hero’s name by modern digital editing techniques. The prerecorded master copy can be reused with other young patients and the lapses on the tape would be personalized with the above mentioned names to match each young patient. This prerecorded message would then be uploaded into the Infrared remote controllable I -Pod that is in the patient’s personal distraction curtain (see above). Perhaps this method of self esteem building would be easier for you to implement.  

     If the hospitalized young patient has a birthday while in this hospital, the patient’s special day would be brighter if he/she had a special birthday conversation with this patient’s “birthday bunny” in the land of “make-believe”. 


     3. Hospital’s Hobby Haven:     

      Comprehensive Hobby (all the healthy hobbies exhaustively discussed-along with the needed disclaimer information)  DVD’s should be routinely given to the patient by the caregiver. This should be a part of the treatment for any patient. If I had not happened to see an amateur radio station at the county fair when I was thirteen, I would have missed  the life saving stress diversion this wonderful hobby provides. Don’t you see? People have to be exposed to a systematic, comprehensive information base for all these healthy, fun hobbies.  Perhaps a “Google Search” of “healthy hobbies” may be a good way  to start or perhaps the best way to start this aspect of the project would be to obtain an unabridged dictionary. Start with the first word in the “A” category and finish with the last word in the “Z” category of this dictionary. Write down all the words that name the healthy hobbies and then start the work involved with describing each healthy hobby- complete with script, photographs, and perhaps videos.     

      4. Crib Notes:   

      To be  developed in the allied health arena: Relevant and important information for students in all the allied health (including veterinary health) arena can be typed on standard eight and a half by eleven inch typing paper and then reduced in size to pocket sized by modern copying machine methods. These notes are then laminated for durability and easy cleaning and two holes punched in the top of them with two stainless steel rings placed in these two holes, to be used as “binders” to hold the notes together. Two sheets of paper can be left blank, reduced in size, laminated and used with an erasable pen as a  “white board”,which can be wiped clean after the notes are no longer needed.The crib notes can then be easily carried in students (including preceptors and interns) professional coats or pockets. I phones are being developed for this use. They require a monthly subscription fee, may be hard to disinfect properly after use at the patient’s bedside and may be hard to utilize (the menu may be difficult to access for the proper information). The I-Phones also do not allow the easy compiling of written notes. 

     I had a working prototype of my echocardiographic information in the crib note form described above and used it while a preceptor student at Duke University Medical Center. My colleagues at the Duke University Medical Center were impressed with these crib notes.   


  1. tracya says:

    hi duane,

    great ideas…i am interested in all kinds of ways to improve patients experience.

    i am a critical care nurse doing a two year quality improvement research project and i hope to continue to research how to improve patients time in the hospital and nurses ability to contribute.

    i have tried unsuccessfully to get my hospital to implement this project
    so i feel your frustration.

    start small and don’t give up!!!

    • duanewyatt says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! As you can see, my motive is humanitarian. I do not seek monetary wealth-I have been poor all my life. If I wanted to try to make money on these ideas, I certainly would not publish them for everyone to see.
      I hope that you will try to move these ideas forward, the high quality images you would see may help your psyche also. I don’t feel that it would do any harm.
      Perhaps, your hospital administrator may be more receptive to these ideas, if somehow, this administrator could find ways to use these ideas to increase the revenue the hospital generates.
      Again, I hope that you will help this effort in any way you can. I am an elderly person now, and would like to take advantage of the distraction curtain idea when I have to enter the hospital, nursing home or finally- the hospice.
      Thanks again for your comment. DW

  2. Mary Byrne Eigel says:

    You have some great ideas. And putting them out here for the universe is the best way to assure they will be seen. You have compassion from experience. I love your HAM kid’s club. What an awesome idea. I believe, as you do, that we have to focus on the person behind the pain. And there is a lot of road to travel to make this happen.
    At one hospital in St. Louis, St. John’s Pratt Cancer Center, they have a “cocoon” room. It was built with donated funds for children who are in taking their chemo treatments. You would love it. The whole room is a jelly bean shape. The ceiling can change colors, music is piped in and controlled bedside. There are no images, but it is a wonderful space, like the ones you are proposing, for making medical treatment more pleasant.

  3. duanewyatt says:

    Thanks Mary! I am looking for someone to take over this project; you and I and “Tracya” are all able to think creatively- I just know that there are other christian, giving, caring, unselfish, creative people out there who can help this project move forward to, at the very least, clinical trials!! DW.

  4. Jane Miller says:

    This blog post hits the spot. I’ve been craving for some excellent information and finally discovered it right here. I’ve been browsing around the entire morning to find a good post to tell me what I need to know, but I have determined like 34 other blogs that just gave me senseless information!

  5. Some great ideas. Being in the hospital is always stressful. It is nice that you are considering many ways to make the stay more pleasant.

  6. As you may know a Medical Instrument Sales professional sees allot of hospitals, critical care facilities and general medical facilities and we how boring these facilities can be and how exhausted the medical professionals that work in these facilities can get. It is important for all medical professionals and patients to be exposed to something that gives them energy and makes them feel good about their environment. Keep the ideas rolling!

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