Cook Children's Patients Connect Through Virtual Concerts During COVID-19 Social Distancing
Being in the hospital can feel isolating anytime, but during COVID-19, social distancing can make young patients feel even more alone. Before the novel coronavirus, patients were able to leave their hospital rooms and enjoy activities in Cook Children’s Child Life Zone and other areas of the hospital. Now, the Child Life staff are working to bring activities and entertainment to patients and families in their rooms.
“We’ve really had to change the way we do things,” said Jill Koss, director of Family Support Services and Child Life at Cook Children’s. “The goal of Child Life is to help patients and their families work through any fears and anxieties they have about being in the hospital, and giving them tools to cope with that fear. For patients that may find themselves in isolation due to Covid-19 testing, we are meeting many of those needs virtually.”
Cook Children’s Child Life Zone (CLZ) is now using its closed TV station, CLZ-TV Channel 2, to connect with patients. They’ve ramped up their broadcasting schedule, now hosting several game shows a day which allow patients to call in from their rooms to play along. CLZ is also teaming up with Hear Fort Worth, a division of Visit Fort Worth, to bring the magic of music straight to patient rooms.
“Through Hear Fort Worth, we’ve started collaborating with the local music community to bring free, virtual concerts to patients and families,” said Rayne Delgado, program coordinator for the Child Life Zone at Cook Children’s. “The response from our patients has been great. They especially enjoy being able to interact with the artists.”
Concerts are streamed via Zoom with the artist performing from their home while answering questions from the patients via Instagram or a special phone line.
“We are honored to work with the tremendous staff at Cook Children’s Medical Center,” said Mitch Whitten, executive vice president of marketing and strategy at Visit Fort Worth. “Music can inspire and bring hope during trying times and we are grateful to our local musicians for donating their time and talents. Music is an integral part of our city’s culture.”
Three concerts have occurred thus far featuring artists Jack Barksdale, Jessi England and Grady Spencer with more being planned.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created many unique challenges for Cook Children’s, including how to help kids feel like kids while social distancing in a hospital room,” said Koss. “This partnership with Hear Fort Worth gives our patients and families a chance to momentarily set aside the medical challenges they’re facing, and feel a little more connected through music.”
Musicians interested in performing may contact Child Life Zone Program Coordinator Rayne Delgado or Hear Fort Worth leads Tom Martens and Hillary Dupriest for more information. Visit www.FortWorth.com/Music to learn more about the local music community and how you can support.