Child Life Program: Help reduce the stress and anxiety in our pediatric patients

As an integral part of the healthcare team, Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events. Child life professionals help children and their families navigate the emotionally and physically demanding process of coping with illness, injury, disability, trauma and hospitalization. Child life specialists are child development experts who support coping and adjustment through:

  • therapeutic play
  • diagnostic education
  • age-appropriate preparation
  • normalization of the hospital environment
  • expressive activities
  • bereavement support

Tools and toys are essential to the Child Life program. From bubbles to puzzles and iPad games. Child Life supplies help patients engage in self-expression and therapeutic play and help create a much less threatening hospital environment. Child Life specialists distract and educate patients by playing with play medical toys, reading books, playing with playdoh or telling stories to relieve children’s anxiety.

Hands-on medical play uses real or pretend medical equipment to give patients a sense of mastery over medical procedures and instruments. Painting with syringes, putting bandages or blood pressure cuffs on dolls and making sculptures with casting materials all help reduce anxiety and provide a level of comfort with the hospital environment.

The Child Life program — which is not covered by insurance or reimbursed through Medicaid — is supported by donations and hospital operating funds. Gifts of any size support the greatest needs of the Child Life program.