Wishes, Wants & Needs

Our “Wishes, Wants & Needs” program provides discretionary funds and responds to requests from Child Life Specialists at regional hospitals for anything pediatric heart patients and their families may wish, want or need while in the hospital. Our ability to provide these items helps relieve parental stress and aids in the child’s recovery. 

Here are a few examples: 

Angels for Hearts was the first to donate iPads to child life specialists at Sutter Children’s Center Sacramento, UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford to see if they could be used to help their patients better understand their diagnosis and treatment in a fun and interactive way. The study showed that anxiety levels were decreased by over 46%! 

The iPads are used as distraction tools to keep patients occupied during procedures, and as a vehicle to educate the heart kids, siblings and family members on what to expect from the first steps into the hospital all the way to going home. Knowledge and education are both crucial in the recovery process for the heart kids.  To date, Angels for Hearts has donated 20 iPads. 

Angels for Hearts surprised three of our hospitals with 12 wheelchairs designed to look like race cars for their pediatric heart patients. These uniquely designed racecars can hold all the equipment used for the Berlin Heart machines (a type of artificial heart pump) for children awaiting heart transplant. Zoom, zoom!

Angels for Hearts designed custom Bless Your Heart cardiac travel pillows for Child Life Specialists to give to pediatric heart patients after heart surgery. Patients are advised to use a coughing pillow while in the hospital and during recovery from heart surgery, and can be attached to a seat belt for traveling comfort.  

Bless Your Heart pillows are made from a poplin muslin fabric, and the physician, surgeon, family and friends can write on it with a permanent marker, making it a lasting and memorable gift.

Music has an extraordinary power to bring comfort and peace to the soul, clinical studies have proven that music therapy offers a new evidence-based, integrative medical approach in treating young hospital patients. Angels for Hearts has donated various sizes of xylophones and drums for patients to use during music therapy.

Children in hospitals need more than words to help them understand their medical conditions and the treatments they undergo. Angels for Hearts has donated customized male/female sets of “Patient Puppets to local hospitals to help Child Life Specialists explain and imitate an upcoming surgery or procedure so the pediatric heart patient can know what to expect. Patient Puppets are outfitted with items such as multiple chest tubes sites, an artificial heart, heart transplant, sutures, IVs, breathing tube and catheter. Patient Puppets simplify and reinforce medical concepts, helping to reduce the fears of children, lessen their anxieties and encourage expression of their feelings. 

A unique request we received from UC San Francisco was for hip chairs—chairs designed for adults rehabilitating from a hip replacement. The special design of these chairs makes them a perfect height for a parent in the hospital visiting their baby in a crib. These chairs are also well cushioned which is a bonus for long visits, and for moms who are recovering from giving birth.

And sometimes, our heart families just need groceries, or toiletries, or dinner. We also give Child Life Specialists Visa debit cards, grocery store and retailer gift cards, and gift cards to local restaurants to use if there is anything a heart child or heart family “Wishes, Wants, & Needs” while they are in the hospital. At some hospitals, we’ve also started donating parking garage and cafeteria vouchers, because every penny counts. 

We have also provided Child Life Specialists with funds to cover a family’s hotel stay after losing a child to cardiac issues. A brief respite before returning home can help parents grieve in privacy.

Through the generosity of our community, we help Child Life Specialists provide gifts and fulfills the “Wishes, Wants & Needs” of pediatric heart patients throughout the year.     

Angels for Hearts supports Child Life Specialists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (Stanford, CA), Sutter Children’s Center Sacramento (Sacramento, CA), UC Davis Children’s Hospital (Sacramento, CA), and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco (San Francisco, CA).