Beads of Courage A program for children coping with cancer

 

The Beads of Courage® program is designed to achieve the targeted health benefits for children who participate, their families, and the health care provider who implements the program. The Beads of Courage® program is adapted from the original Bravery Beads program offered to children at British Columbia Children's Hospital (Stutzer & Gove, 1999). The Beads of Courage® program as developed by Baruch, J.M. (2004) is a resilience-based supportive care intervention to strengthen resilience-based protective processes (coping, derived meaning, social support) of children receiving treatment for cancer while decreasing adverse outcomes and late-effects (depression, anxiety, uncertainty in illness, symptom distress). Beads of Courage® is also targeted to positively impact clinical practice by strengthening the therapeutic alliance with patients, decreasing work related stress, and increase capacity-building (leadership, growth). Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. Their Beads of Courage® journey begins when each child is first given a length of string beads that spell out their first name. Colorful Beads of Courage ®, each representing a different treatment milestone are available to add to their string throughout their treatment journey. Meaning is derived from their experience with cancer while in the program when their Beads of Courage® collection is recognized both by its qualitative (diversity in individual beads and color) and quantitative (number of beads over time) nature by their professional caregiver, family and friends. The broad goals of Beads of Courage® are listed below.

Goals of Beads of Courage®

• To visually acknowledge the courage displayed in each visit a child makes to the hospital for treatment

• To provide something tangible children can use to tell their unique story during treatment, and at completion of therapy

• To add brightness, play and fun to the care of children with cancer

• To recognize the challenging journey throughout their treatment

• To create meaning from the many procedures children must cope with throughout their treatment What is the Beads of Courage® program?

• Beads of Courage® is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen the protective resources in children coping with cancer. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. How does the program work?

• Upon enrollment each child is given the Beads of Courage® bead color guide with a detachable membership card. Their Beads of Courage® journey begins when each child is first given a length of string and beads that spell out their first name. Then, colorful beads, each representing a different treatment milestone are given to the child by their professional health care provider to add to their Beads of Courage® collection throughout their treatment. Why does the program help?

• Ongoing evaluation of the Beads of Courage® program indicates that the program helps to decrease illness related distress, increase the use of positive coping strategies, helps children find meaning in illness, and restore sense of self in children coping with cancer. The program also provides something tangible the child can use to tell about their experience during cancer treatment and after. The Beads of Courage® program is especially proud of the endorsement and sponsorship we receive from the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB). Artists from around the world who are members of the ISGB donate handmade glass beads to give to children for the significant treatment milestones (Act of courage, bone marrow transplant donor and recipient, completion of treatment). These beads are truly one-of-a-kind and it is only fitting that those significant treatment milestones are represented by these handmade beads. Children who participate in the Beads of Courage® program select their own bead for each milestone. Each site is supplied with the handmade milestone beads. Additionally, some of the donated beads are used to honor staff in our parallel Beads of Courage® staff recognition program. Thank you for your interest in Beads of Courage® and your enthusiasm and assistance to start the program for children who receive treatment for cancer. Thank you too for your dedication to the care you provide children with cancer. Sincerely, Jean Baruch, RN, BSN, PhD(c) Beads of Courage® President and Program Director Beads of Courage, Inc. www.beadsofcourage.net jbaruch@beadsofcourage.net 520-722-5915 (office phone) 520-331-1984 (cell phone)