Hospital staff create Christmas magic in pediatric unit | Local News

Brooke Wagner, left, a music therapist at St. Vincent Healthcare, persuades Cybil Raine to accept the pacifier from the pacifier-activated lullaby music player as Raine’s mother Candace watches in St. Vincent Healthcare’s NICU in this file photo from 2019. The machine encourages babies to practice sucking so they can drink more efficiently.

Brooke Wagner, left, a music therapist at St. Vincent Healthcare, persuades Cybil Raine to take the pacifier from the pacifier-activated lullaby music player while Raine’s mother Candace watches on in St. Vincent Healthcare’s NICU.

Christmas at the hospital would put a damper on any child’s holiday spirit, but St. Vincent Healthcare strives to bring Christmas cheer to the pediatric ward every year, especially during the pandemic.

Currently, respiratory viruses make up the majority of admissions in the pediatric ward with an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), with 99 cases recorded so far, according to state data.

RSV usually shows up in infants and premature babies, but this year the virus is being detected in the older, healthier children, said St. V’s pediatric nurse Amy Goltz.

The unit usually runs with about eight shots, and this Christmas is averagely good. St. V’s recently updated visitation policy now allows two visitors, unlike the one implemented during the height of the COVID spike.

“It’s hard because every child is different and their support system may not be just mom and dad,” Goltz said.

In 2020, hospitals began recording FaceTime sessions for families of patients who were unable to attend. While it’s one more thing on busy nurses’ plate, Goltz said it was worth it.

“Our job isn’t just to take care of the patient, our job is to take care of the patient and their families,” Goltz said.

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