Child Life Program
The Child Life Program helps ease anxiety and stress prior to medical procedures or hospitalization for children and their families. A certified child life specialist will work with your child to explain all events, sights, sounds, and sensations he or she may encounter during their time here in an effort to minimize fear and confusion. Preparation for all aspects of any medical experience – ranging from blood work to surgery – will help make the visit or stay less traumatic for children and their parents, too.
Preparing for Surgery
If your child is scheduled for surgery, a child life specialist will provide pre-operative preparation and a guided tour in the secure setting of our pediatric playroom, which is designed to accommodate all age groups. These include toys for imaginary play, arts and crafts, story hours, music and video games, as well as a wide range of playroom and bedside ventures.
Parents and children have the option of reviewing the virtual tour to help children better understand their hospital experience from start to finish. Families are also invited to take a walking tour of the pediatric facility so that everything from pre-operative procedures to recovery will be familiar before surgery.
Comfortable, Safe Environment
To ensure a familiar, relaxed atmosphere before and after surgery, children are encouraged to bring comforting objects from home. A familiar stuffed animal or toy can be brought to the surgical suite as a comfort during the induction of anesthesia. Following surgery, the toy is brought to the Recovery Room, where it serves as a familiar sign of home when they awake.
Since children learn about their surroundings and how to overcome vulnerability through play, our child life specialist uses play and other activities to encourage expression of feelings and to promote a child’s sense of mastery over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.
Our child life specialist interacts with children in age-appropriate language and offers educational and emotional support. This often helps turn a child’s hospital stay from an ordeal into a positive growth experience.
Because we recognize the need for a “safe haven” in a hospital setting, no tests or treatments are performed at the child’s bedside. The patient room is reserved as the safe place, creating the secure environment that helps a child cope.
Maintaining a child’s relationship with parents and other family members is an integral part of our program. Our child life specialist works closely with siblings to determine if they are experiencing any emotional trauma of their own to help them cope.