Doctors and nurses at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital are taking advice from Cupid to help heal their smallest hearts.
"Our motto in the cardiac ICU at Le Bonheur is ‘Every day is Valentine's Day for our babies,'" says Dr. Chris Knott-Craig, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Director of the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur.
This doesn't mean doctors are showering the infants with flowers and candies, but they are incorporating these grand gestures into post-surgery healing.
"What in fact is happening is that all five senses that you have – sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch – are all being stimulated by those gifts that we give on Valentine's Day," says Knott-Craig, "In our cardiac ICU we stimulate our babies, all five senses and we add one, ‘sense of well-being,' sense of feeling good about themselves."
Dr. Chris Knott-Craig says stimulating the senses distracts the infants from surgery hurts, adding, "Not only is it good to prevent pain in newborn babies but it in fact allows them to heal quicker and allows them to get off the ventilator quicker than children that are treated in the conventional way."
Some of the sense-tingling techniques include playing audio of parents for them and hanging up images that engage their young minds.
"Babies are able to discern only blacks and whites, newborn babies," says Knott-Craig, "We have little things hanging down from the beds that are painted in black and white so they can see black and white things so when they are awake and their eyes are uncovered, they can see things which allows the brain to develop."
For touch they use warming lamps over the cribs and have people who pick up the infants to warm their hands so babies aren't shocked by cold hands.
For smell, Knott-Craig says they have parents bring one of the t-shirts they've worn "and the odors just next to the baby's head so when it smells it can smell its parents and feel comforted."