SPOKANE, Wash. - Kaitlyn Collins likes to pass the time by drawing and reading. She has had plenty of chances to do that since being admitted to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.
"Sometimes when I'm here for a while, I get really grumpy," Collins said.
That's to be expected for the soon-to-be sixth grader. She's left to left to wait and wonder while doctors determine why she had heart and kidney failure in June. They don't know why it happened, but they do know they want her moving.
Each day, she has a set number of laps she needs to walk around her unit.
"Getting up and walking around, yeah, it makes me feel better," Collins said.
That doesn't surprise Dr. Melanie Cooper Flaigle. She works as a Mednax-affiliated pediatric intensivist at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. Dr. Cooper Flaigle explained that new research has showed getting kids out of bed and doing something can really help them recover faster and better.
“We can preserve muscle strength. We can preserve neurological function. We can actually get these kids out of the hospital, health, happy, and functioning, at least as good as they were when they came in,” Dr. Cooper Flaigle said.
With that goal in mind, Dr. Cooper Flaigle and registered nurse Danielle Sieckowski championed a new program at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital called Rise and Shine.
It includes different activities for kids to do to get them out of bed, if possible. That's where Collins walking goals come into place.
“We usually go around the unit eight times,” Collins said.
Other kids may stretch out on a miniature recliner or race down the hallway in a little toy car.
But those tools wouldn't be available without support from Children's Miracle Network. The national organization raises money for children's hospitals, supports research, and raises awareness about children's illnesses. Donations to that nonprofit helped pay for the specialize equipment used for Rise and Shine.
“We wouldn't be able to do it without the equipment,” Sieckowski said.
While it can be challenging to convince sick children to get out of bed, it's always worth it, according to Dr. Cooper Flaigle.
“I've seen kids improve. I've seen kids move faster. I've seen kids get home faster,” Dr. Cooper Flaigle said. “I've seen kids come back to us and say thank you for making me do that.”
Collins said she's grateful for this program and the donations that support it. She doesn't know how long she'll be in the hospital, but she does know she's spend her days walking around the unit.
Learn more about donating to Children's Miracle Network here.
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