Child Life Specialists

Child Life Specialists work with children to minimize the stress children can feel during hospital stays or visits to the Emergency Room or Day Surgery. This work is crucial to a child’s emotional health, because medical settings can be a new, unfamiliar world for children-with the potential for them to develop fears and misconceptions.

Child Life Specialists use many techniques to help a child adjust to the hospital and to maintain a normal lifestyle. A child who feels “at home” is less anxious and may recover more quickly.

Certified Child Life Specialists are trained in child development and specialize in working with children in health care settings. They address the child’s need to understand and cope emotionally with the medical experience.

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Child Life Specialists comfort patients

The Child Life Department’s mission is to minimize the stressful and potentially negative impacts of hospitalization, and to maximize opportunities for positive and supportive experiences through the following services:

  • Preparation and support for medical tests, procedures, and surgeries
  • Therapeutic play, including “medical play”
  • Group and bedside developmentally appropriate activities

Why Playing Is So Important

Play is the cornerstone of expression in childhood and a normal part ofeveryday life. The Child Life Specialists provide opportunities and appropriate toysand activities to encourage childrento play. Often through play, a childcan relax enough to express feelings or fears about medical experiences. Child Life Specialists maintain specially-equipped playrooms thatare safe, stress-free places for patients to play.

How Medical Play Helps Children

Playing with medical materials helps a child gain a sense of control. Child Life Specialists supervise medical play, and help children become familiar with hospital equipment. As the child’s creative imagination unfolds, the medical equipment and experiences become less frightening

Additional Child Life Services

  • Teach relaxation and mental imagery techniques to help children control pain, deal with anxiety, or cope with medical procedures.
  • Provide support for a patient’s siblings.
  • Developmental information and intervention.
  • Infant stimulation.Family support.
  • Crisis intervention for siblings.
  • Resource materials for families.
  • Bereavement support for families.