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"The Little Things" that help children and families heal when they are in the hospital

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"The Little Things"

When children are ill, they need rest, medicine and sometimes procedures and surgeries. But it is often the "little things" that make a patient feel better in their heart.

Channel Three News caught up with staff and nurses at The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart to see what small gestures they make, that have a big impact.

Every Tuesday is "Tutu and Tiara" Day at Sacred Heart Hospital.

Donna Covas greets each patient and visitor in the lobby of the Children's hospital wearing not only a tutu and a tiara, but also a complete set of fairy wings and a wand. "We do it to make the lives of the children and the families that are here just a little more joyful," she said.

Up on the third floor, you will find Marla Peak. Peak is the director of the Children's Hospital. She says while major healing is taking place in her little patients' bodies, her staff strives to also soothe their souls. "Giving a bath, washing their hair, rubbing their feet, scratching their back, or reading a book, our nurses do them all," she said.

Peak's nurses also go out of their way to minister to the families. She said, "They'll bring up food just to make sure they get that home cooked meal."

Traniece Williams is in charge of delivering meals to the pediatric patients. She proudly specializes in the "special order."

"You don't want the kids to feel like they don't have anything to choose from. Because food is really the only choice they have," she explained.

Williams has been known to go outside of the hospital to find a longed for treat. She even makes deals to get her charges to eat.

Williams said she'll do almost anything to get nutrition and calories into her little ones. "I'll come and plan a dance game with them. I'll say, 'If you eat those peas, we can dance later.' They like that, they want that attention."

Pre-op Charge Nurse Cheryl Gulley preps treat bags each afternoon for the next day surgery patients. She and her cohort Brenda buy most of the goodies themselves.

They say it's a small price to pay for getting a child smoothly to the operating rooms with less anxiety. Gulley said, "A nursing instructor told me in nursing school, 'Treat people like you would want to be treated.'"

Erin Contreras is the Child-life Specialist for in-patients at Sacred Heart. Floor nurses give out "Beads of Courage to chronically ill patients after procedures and surgeries. She said her nurses love being able to bestow the beads to their patients.

"Our nurses think it's a really neat program that they're able to show, letting the kiddos show and tell their story."

Contreras also makes sure each holiday is fully celebrated, and a special day remembered. "It's those small things like, 'Oh, they brought me a birthday cake, or decorated my door. I got to blow bubbles in the play room for a little while.'"

Five year old Dominic LaRocco was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. It was a terrifying time for the kindergartner, filled with tears and needle sticks.

Luckily, his nurse knew just what to do. She brought in a small stuffed dog, that gets every procedure and bandage his little master does.

Dominic's mother Jennifer Larocco said while such actions are treasured, it's really the love and concern that is showered upon them daily, that keeps them going. "It's not always what they do, it's just the compassion they show," she said, wiping away tears.