Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine (Children)
Child Life Program
Certified child life specialists are trained in the developmental impact of hospitalization, illness and injury. They help children and family members cope with the stress and uncertainty of health care experiences through the Child Life Program. This program strives to minimize the negative effects of stressful or traumatic experiences that affect the optimal development, health and well-being of youth and families.
Certified child life specialists work in partnership with family members and their care team to meet the social and emotional needs of patients and families. Through assessment, intervention, advocacy and education, child life specialists provide opportunities for children, adolescents and family members to manage health care experiences.
The Child Life Program provides services for pediatric patients and children of adult patients.
Child life services for pediatric patients include:
- Preparing children for surgery, procedures or other medical experiences by using age-appropriate language, visual aids and teaching materials to decrease stress and enhance understanding.
- Supporting children during procedures by teaching coping tools and techniques, including using distraction, comfort positions and breathing exercises.
- Using medical play with real and pretend medical equipment to clarify misconceptions, promote understanding and help children gain mastery over their medical experiences.
- Providing opportunities for emotional expression by encouraging patients to work through their feelings through play, discussion, art, music and other forms of expression.
- Engaging children in developmental play and activities to normalize the hospital environment.
- Supporting siblings to help them better understand what is happening.
Child life services for children of adult patients include:
- Providing education to caregivers about child development and common responses to health care experiences.
- Providing developmentally appropriate education to children to promote understanding of the diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Preparing and supporting children when visiting the hospital to ensure understanding and promote healthy coping.
- Sharing resources for children and families coping with an adult's diagnosis.
- Offering therapeutic interventions and resources for children coping with separation, grief or loss of a loved one.
Patients and families can request child life services through a member of their health care team or by contacting the Child Life Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a donation
Donations to the Child Life Program are always welcome and greatly appreciated. Email email@example.com with your interest and include as many specifics as possible about your donation. Note: Donated toys, games, puzzles, books and stuffed animals need to be new, unused and recently purchased. For donation suggestions, view the Child Life Program wish list on Amazon.