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Project 'Move along on the SCT'

Nurses at the department where stem cell transplants take place have started a project to encourage children who are hospitalized for long periods of time to exercise. During the day, the bed becomes a 'couch' against the wall and exercise is encouraged with tips. Rinze (12) sits on the chair playing games: 'I love gaming, but now there is a lot of room in my room to play badminton as well.'
Pediatric oncology nurses Kirsten van der Peijl, Eva van Lieshout-van den Brink and Gineke Hazekamp only recently started a pilot on ward Tafel. The project has the resounding name (rhymes in Dutch) ‘Move along on the SCT’ and is for children undergoing stem cell transplantation. These children are hospitalized for long periods of time, are nursed in isolation and then the danger of exercise deprivation lurks. Gineke Hazekamp: 'We hope the child will be activated to get out of bed more and more often. The first results of our project are great, that’s why we like to share our enthusiasm with others. Colleagues from other nursing departments are immediately curious and ask: 'How did you manage that?'

Bed = couch

The project idea comes from Kirsten and Eva's final assignment for the pediatric oncology nursing training. In this assignment, they wrote recommendations for improving mobilization of SCT children. One of the most important changes is the position of the bed in the room: starting at 9:30 am, the bed is put against the wall as a ‘couch’ and is thus less central. Kirsten: ‘We have inventoried advice together with physiotherapy, maximaal bewegen and medical pedagogical care, making the project multidisciplinary. The developed structure was presented to the core team and approved by the medical team. We decided to make a poster so that parents also know what the advice and tips are. The posters are hanging in the team post and we hand them out to the child and parents.'

Exercise tips

Exercise is essential for children with cancer. Eva explains that different situations are taken into account, namely how the child is feeling. 'We’ll give suggestions of simple activities children can do out of bed, such as brushing teeth at the sink, going to the toilet in the bathroom, eating and drinking at the table and watching TV or gaming in the chair. These seem little but activate a child to get out of bed. A bed is for resting or sleeping, if the child is not fit or at the request of a doctor or other health care professional.


And now the three nurse are monitoring the results of the pilot with great interest. Gineke says: ‘We will spend the next three months to see if we can stimulate children's movement with these relatively simple tools. All children admitted for a stem cell transplant from now on will be included in the pilot. Then the findings will be evaluated with the core team. If the pilot proves effective, there is a chance that we will introduce the project in other departments as well. Hopefully soon the poster will also be translated into English and also Ukrainian. For now, we are already very happy: the first steps have been taken literally and figuratively. Children, parents and colleagues are positive, that's what we're doing it for!’