Child Life Goals

1. To reduce children’s fears and anxieties regarding hospitalization.

2. To minimize any psychological trauma that may occur from hospitalization.

3. To transform hospitalization from an ordeal into a positive experience that promotes the child’s healthy and normal growth development.

4. To provide emotional support to the entire family.

5. To improve the child and families understanding of medical procedures.

6. To provide hospitalized children with a sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

7. To provide the child with the opportunity for safe expression and exploration of emotions.

8. To assist families and medical staff in providing the best overall medical care for their children.


Top Ten Reasons to Call a Child Life Specialist

10. Child/patient needs preparation for an invasive procedure.

9. Child/patient is having difficulty coping with a necessary procedure, including crying, fighting or hiding.

8. Child/patient exhibits oppositional behavior, refusing to cooperate without anger or hostility.

7. Child/patient or siblings express specific fears to staff needing follow-up.

6. Child/patient is perceived by staff as withdrawn.

5. Child/patient is having difficulty taking medicine.

4. Child/patient admits having recently experienced traumatic loss or has chronic illness.

3. Child/patient is newly diagnosed with chronic illness.

2. Child/patient is admitted for injuries resulting from a traumatic accident, including MVA, Fire, etc.

1. Child/patient has injuries or a diagnosis that has resulted from suspected child abuse.


The Value of Play

One of the best ways a child can learn to cope with their hospitalization is through regular play and medical play. Play is a child’s job and it creates a sense of normalcy for a child in an unfamiliar environment. Studies indicate that expressive play activities, combined with verbal and nonverbal licensed creative art therapist, benefit children by helping them understand what is happening to them.  It also allows them to express their thoughts and feelings about their experience with hospitalization.

These activities also provide children with the opportunity to gain a greater sense of control over the environment that has been thrust upon them.

Medical play and preparation form an important aspect of the Child Life Program.  They allow children to explore the medical equipment and to role-play their experiences at a safe distance.  Individual preparation for a specific procedure is an invaluable teaching tool. By demonstrating an upcoming procedure, children have a chance to develop appropriate coping skills for later use.childs art

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