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C2鈥?Jing鈥檃n Tuesday 29 August 2017鈥?Shanghai Daily Programs make hospital stay nicer for kids Li Qian Niu Jun (second from right) and other volunteers do crafts work with children suffering from leukemia as part of a Shanghai Children鈥檚 Hospital effort to take their minds off pain and put some fun in their lives. 鈥?Jiang Xiaowei Being hospitalized is never pleasant, particularly for children. Not only do Wanna help? Guidelines for getting involved they have medical problems to face but also social and educational isola- For almost the last two tion from normal children. decades, about 120,000 people have participated A boy named Chengcheng is a 鈥渞egular visi- in volunteer work tor鈥?at Shanghai Children鈥檚 Hospital. He was organized by the Shanghai diagnosed with leukemia about two years Children鈥檚 Hospital. It ago and often needs to be hospitalized for offers suggestions based weeks at a time to receive treatment. on age groups. Shanghai Children鈥檚 Hospital has devel- 1. Children under the age of 6 Volunteer Wang Yiqun, an amateur painter, gives art lessons to young patients. oped special programs to cater to patients Parents can take them to a charity fair like Chengcheng, including regular school where children donate toys, books or experiments done in the hospital labora- science can help develop online platforms lessons so they don鈥檛 miss out on class other items for sale to raise money to help tory. It鈥檚 a way of helping them realize how for volunteers, and students majoring in work. chronically ill children. The process can precious life is and may even encourage art can help decorate ward walls. help them understand those less fortunate some to think about careers in healthcare. Starting last year, teachers from 12 Shang- and teach them how to develop a caring 6. White-collar workers hai kindergartens, primary and middle nature. 4. High school students Busy office workers can be asked to schools have been coming to the hospital Besides 鈥渋mmersive experiences,鈥?they spare an hour to do volunteer work at the once a week to give lessons to young leuke- 2. Primary school students can also help design charity programs hospital. It costs nothing but a little time. mia patients. The ward school, the first of They can join a one-day visit to the hospi- that benefit the sick. its kind, is held in a room fitted out to look tal to see how doctors work, and they can 7. Retired people just like a regular classroom. The curriculum play with young patients. 5. University students They can assist as information guides in covers Chinese, math, social studies, science They can be encouraged to parlay their hospital corridors, fielding questions from and art. 3. Middle school students skills into useful volunteer services. For visitors who often don鈥檛 know the way to They have access to a five-day 鈥渋mmersive example, students majoring in computer departments they are seeking. 鈥淚 like it,鈥?Chengcheng said. 鈥淗ere I have experience.鈥?Each student follows a doc- teachers and friends.鈥? tor around on his ward visits and watches 鈥淭his school ensures that they won鈥檛 be Far left: Children are behind when they return to regular schools,鈥? shown by doctors how to said Niu Jun, head of the hospital鈥檚 social use a microscope as part work office. of occupational therapy. Niu, 39, was a lab technician when he grad- Left: In-hospital school uated from medical school and began work at keeps children from the hospital 20 years ago. Twelve years ago, missing out on regular he requested a transfer to the social work class work. department, where he has been touched by the brave hearts of young patients. 鈥淭hey never utter a sound when they are receiving chemotherapy or bone marrow punctures, which can be very painful,鈥?he said. 鈥淭hey don鈥檛 want to worry their parents so they just endure pain as best they can.鈥? Niu is determined to make their hospital stay more pleasant. It鈥檚 a big task. Nearly half of China鈥檚 annual 30,000-to-40,000 increase in leukemia cases are children. They face long treatment. Niu said he believes that happiness can make children heal faster. His idea is to cre- ate a non-hospital environment for young patients as a way of showing them that they are still part of normal society. In addition to the school, the hospital has set up a playroom for young patients. They also have access to lessons in painting and reading, and they are taken on outings to places like Shanghai Disneyland and the Ori- ental Pearl TV Tower. 鈥淲e hope to give them quality of life,鈥?Niu said. 鈥淲e want them to have time when they forget disease and pain. We want them to think of the hospital as more than just a cold-hearted place that gives injections and dispenses pills.鈥? Three years ago, Niu and his co-workers conducted a survey that found nearly two in three young leukemia patients had emotional troubles. Many were anxious about missing out on school. Some were introverted and depressed. The ward school resulted from the survey. 鈥淲e have an obligation to help them grow up, despite disease,鈥?Niu said. In 2005, he ended a volunteer stint in a backward area of Yunnan Province, which gave Niu fresh insights about helping young patients. 鈥淚 saw that aid is not just about giving people or coming to see them a few times a week,鈥?he said. 鈥淭o really make a difference, you have to become truly involved in the lives of people. We can鈥檛 think about what they can bring to us, but rather what we can give to them.鈥? The Shanghai Children鈥檚 Hospital utilizes volunteers of all ages and professions to give that loving touch to medical care.