Child Life

  • Family Involvement

    Family involvement aids in the healing process of a child. Hospitals are unfamiliar settings with many strangers. Children are comforted by family support, which allows their emotions to enhance healing. Sometimes it may seem that children cry or act out more when parents are present. That's because children know they are safe, even if they display their inner fears, anger, confusion and anxiety. Children often keep these feelings to themselves when around strangers.

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    Advocating for Your Child’s Well-Being

    • Ask to be with your child during procedures. Look at your child's face instead of the procedure. Help distract your child with a book, toy or family story.
    • Make sure your child is prepared for what is happening and has explanations in language he / she understands.
    • Ask to room in with your child when possible.
    • Communicate with staff about your child's unique needs and comfort measures. Staff are experts in the health care arena, but you are the expert about your child. Speak up and advocate for your child's individual needs.
    • Write down questions to help remember your concerns when communicating with staff. It can also be helpful to write down staff names and roles and the information they share with you.
    • If you have difficulty with any staff member, you are encouraged to speak with a charge person to help resolve the issue.

    Self-Care and Coping for Families

    • You can be more supportive to your children when you also take care of yourself.
    • You need to stay fueled with rest and food.
    • Sometimes taking a break and trading off with other family members and friends can help you cope with this draining experience.
    • Having someone coordinate tasks such as child care, meals, pet care and others can significantly reduce the stress of such a hectic pace.
    • It may be helpful to provide the name and number of a friend or family member on your answering machine to be a designated contact person to share information about your child's hospitalization.

    Improving the Hospital Experience

    • Bring familiar items like family photos, your child's own clothes, security items, drawings and letters from siblings, friends and classmates.
    • Promote normalcy through friends visiting, doing schoolwork and attending the Child Life Activity Center.
    • If children cannot leave the room, they can engage in reading, drawing or play activities at the bedside.
    • Utilizing your Child Life Specialist can help you and your family cope with your child's hospitalization.

 
  • Programs and Services

    Read more about the specialized programs and services available through Child Life.

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