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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Ankeny)

1055 Southwest Oralabor Road
Ankeny, IA 50023

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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50266

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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E Hickman Rd
Waukee, IA 50263

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th Street Southwest
Altoona, IA 50009

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ankeny Medical Park

3625 North Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

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Blank Children's Hospital

Child Life

Being in a hospital can be very stressful for children and their families. To help ease their nerves, Blank Children's Hospital provides a special service called Child Life.

Certified Child Life specialists have college degrees in areas similar to child development, psychology, education or therapeutic recreation. Your Child Life specialist combines play with education to explain medical procedures and provide therapeutic opportunities to explore the hospital environment.

Child Life

In our other videos, you can hear about Child Life from families and kids as well as Child Life themselves!

Child Life Specialists

Child Life specialists foster healing and recovery by helping children express their concerns and cope with fears. Specialists meet with families to provide educational activities to help children adjust to the medical setting, prepare for medical procedures and put them at ease. Our specialists help to:

  • Minimize fear and stress experienced by children, teens and their families throughout their hospital experiences.
  • Support the patient's emotional, social and cognitive growth in the context of his or her family, culture and developmental stage.
  • Encourage developmentally appropriate therapeutic play activities.
  • Engage and energize children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment and activities.
  • Encourage understanding and cooperation by preparing children for medical procedures and diagnoses using developmentally specific language and teaching tools.
  • Offer pre-procedural tours to help patients and families become more familiar with the hospital setting.
  • Assist patients and families in emergency situations and unplanned visits to the hospital.
  • Provide support for families and siblings who may be affected by a diagnosis, illness, trauma or grief.
  • Support parents and caregivers by encouraging their participation in their child's health care.
  • Provide education and resources for parents and family members.

What is Child Life? 

Child Life Activity Assistants

Child Life Activity Assistants are responsible for assisting Child Life Specialists with inpatient planning, implementation and evaluation of activities and interactions for the playroom. Activities planned include painting, playing with Play-Doh® and building with blocks. Assistants also try to grant special requests to individual patients for particular activities and toys.

Scope of Services


Child Life will provide psychosocial care for its patients and families that is of the highest quality.


The goal is to minimize the stresses associated with the hospital experience and to make it as positive of an experience as possible.

Knowledge and Skill Levels

  • Bachelor's Degree in Child Life or closely related field.
  • Professional certification through the National Child Life Certifying Committee.
  • Child Life Specialists who are not certified are expected to actively pursue professional certification.

Type and Age of Patients Served

  • Inpatient Care (General Pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Adult Inpatient Units)
  • Outpatient Care (Pediatric Emergency Department, Children's Health Center, Outpatient Surgery, Radiology, Adult Outpatient Units)
  • Outpatient Care on Referral (EEG, Endoscopy and any other areas serving children).
  • Ages served are pediatric - birth through 18 years.

Scope and Complexity of Patient Needs

Child Life Specialist provide:

  • Age appropriate play opportunities for patients
  • Preparation for health care experiences and procedures
  • Instruction on coping techniques to promotes pain management
  • Education on Child Development issues for parents and health care staff
  • Orientation and supervision for Child Life volunteers
  • Emotional support for patients and families

Child Life Specialists set individual daily agendas and priorities depending upon units served.

Availability of Staff

Child Life specialists available:

Monday - Friday
6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Saturday - Sunday
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Playroom hours are:

Monday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

Monday - Sunday
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Monday - Sunday
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Methods Used to Access and Meet Patient Needs

Individual patient needs are assessed daily to determine provision of appropriate services. Patients assessed to be at highest risk of psychological upset are the highest priority. Goals are reviewed and analyzed annually to assess their accuracy and effectiveness.

Recognized Standards of Practice

The Standards of Practice set by the Child Life Council are used as guidelines to evaluate policies and practices.