Undergoing surgery and/or diagnostic procedures can be stressful for children and their families. The child life specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System — Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse and Sparta can help patients up to age 18 and families adjust to and cope with the health care environment and the many events that happen during a visit to the hospital. The child life specialist will primarily work with patients and their families in Surgery, Special Procedures Unit and MRI on the La Crosse and Sparta campuses.
Child life specialists are development experts who support or infants, children and youth with coping and adjustment through therapeutic play, age-appropriate education and preparation, and expressive activities to reduce fear, anxiety and pain. The child life specialist can provide resources and ideas to help your child learn about surgery or tests, and help him or her feel less afraid and more prepared for what is going to happen. As part of the health care team, the child life specialist will advocate for the special needs of children and their families.