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BIRMINGHAM – Spire employees visited patients at Children’s of Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 23 for INSPIRE Day, kicking off Spire’s sponsorship of medical play at the state’s only freestanding pediatric hospital.
During the INSPIRE Day activity, patients participated in a play medical clinic led by 45 volunteers from Spire. Each patient received a stuffed animal and visited various stations representing typical hospital experiences such as a lab, imaging, surgery and orthopedics.
“The energy of the kids is inspiring,” said Steve Chapman, vice president of operations for Spire. “We enjoyed spending time with these amazing kids as they played to better understand their treatment.”
Through medical play, Child Life Specialists at Children’s can help minimize the stress of illness and hospitalization while helping children and their families have a positive healthcare experience. Child Life Specialists at Children’s are professionally trained to assist patients by teaching about medical procedures, providing support and distraction and encouraging a sense of fun in spite of challenging circumstances. In addition to volunteering to support INSPIRE Day, Spire made a donation of $25,250 that will help Children’s purchase new child-sized medical equipment and supplies to teach young patients about the care they are receiving at the hospital.
“Our Child Life Specialists work with patients and their families to cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, disability and hospitalization,” said Jennifer Deneke, director of family services. “We appreciate Spire’s support of this important aspect of our patient care.”
Nearly 250 Spire employees assembled activity bags earlier in the month to be distributed to patients. The activity bags contained bubbles, Play Doh, books, play medical equipment and stress balls.
“These individual activity bags encourage development through therapeutic and recreational play,” Deneke said. “Play Doh is a wonderful tool to encourage fine motor skills. Blowing bubbles is a great way to encourage deep breathing exercises. The child-sized medical play equipment gives the children an opportunity to work through fears and gain mastery of the hospital environment.”
About Children’s of Alabama
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 46 other states and seven foreign countries last year, representing more than 676,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at childrensal.org.