The Child Life Department seeks to:
- Provide a safe, non-threatening environment which allows for expression through a positive outlet and normalcy in an unfamiliar setting.
- Help the child and family gain a greater understanding of medical procedures, thus reducing fear of the unknown and stress.
- Advocate for children's emotional and psychosocial needs.
Child Life personnel, including certified Child Life specialists, Child Life assistants, student interns, and specially trained volunteers, provide recreational, therapeutic, developmental and educational programming for children and their families in order to make the health care experience as positive as possible.
Child Life goals are met through various programs:
- Playroom Activities: The Child Life Playroom is located on the fifth floor. The playroom is open seven days a week and is staffed when it is open. Recreational, educational and therapeutic activities as well as free play time take place in the Child Life Playroom. The Playroom is a safe place where no medical procedures are allowed to take place. Play spaces and family lounges are located on each unit.
- Bedside Activities: For those patients unable to come to the Playroom due to activity restrictions or isolation precautions, Child Life Specialists, Child Life Assistants, interns, and volunteers are available to provide recreational and therapeutic activities.
- Medical Play: Medical play activities are provided for groups of children in the Playroom as well as individual patients at the bedside and may take many forms such as: structured role playing, medical art, medical stories, etc. The goals of medical play are to familiarize children with medical equipment and procedures, in a non-threatening manner, reduce fears and anxieties associated with hospitalization and to clear up any misconceptions children may have.
- Outpatient Child Life Services: Child Life Specialists are available in the Children's Health Center (CHC), Pediatric Emergency Department, Outpatient Surgery, and Radiology to provide not only recreational, educational and therapeutic activities, but also to facilitate medical play, preparation sessions as well as to provide support to patients and families. Child Life Specialists are also available to other areas within the medical center on an on-call basis.