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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Helpful tips for medical trips

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Stephanie McNaughton, Child Life Specialist Brittany Spah, Child Life Specialist

It’s common for children to worry about a visit to the doctor. Here are five ways that you can support your child before, during and after a medical appointment.

1. Prepare your child for what to expect before an appointment.

    • Use a toy doctor kit or things you have around the house. This helps a child get familiar with what happens at a visit.
    • Allow your child to role play being the doctor.
    • Read books about visiting the doctor.

2. Listen to your child’s fears or concerns.

    • A child may worry about a visit being painful. If your child asks about whether or not he/she will get a poke, be honest. If you aren’t sure of the answer, tell say the doctor will decide whether or not an injection or a blood draw is needed.
    • Give a simple explanations to your child for shots or blood draws. Use phrases like “medicine to help you stay healthy,” “checking a little bit of your blood to make sure it is healthy,” or “checking a little bit of your blood so we know how to help you feel better.”
    • Brainstorm with your child for ways to make the appointment a little easier. Offering choices helps the child feel in control. Examples of choices may include which ear is examined first or sitting on your lap during a poke.

3. Provide comfort and respect feelings.

    • Avoid saying things like “Don’t cry,” “Be a big boy/girl,” or “The shot won’t hurt.”
    • Reassure your child that you’ll be right there.
    • Your child will sense how you are feeling. Staying calm helps your child stay calm.

4. Bring comfort and distraction items.

    • Blankets or pacifiers may help calm your child.
    • A favorite stuffed animal, doll or action figure can be examined first to help your child feel at ease.
    • Having activities to distract your child will lower the anxiety level while waiting or during procedures. You also can try playing a game of I Spy, singing songs or telling stories.

5. Have something fun to look forward to.

    • Give plenty of praise to your child or have a fun activity arranged for after the visit.
    • The positive encouragement should be given regardless of a child’s anxiety level during the appointment. If the child was unable to control his/her anxiety, missing out on a fun experience that was planned for after the appointment will make it even worse.
    • Celebrate after an appointment to help pave the way for future visits.