Child Life is a young profession created to help children and their families navigate the emotionally and physically demanding process of coping with hospitalization. MTRH’s Child Life Health Workers (CLHWs) help lessen children’s anxiety by introducing them to real medical equipment through play, explaining how and why procedures must be done, and ways each child can assist the medical team. Using age-appropriate language and play, CLHWs help minimize the stress children experience by normalizing the strange environment of the hospital by addressing each family and young patient’s social, emotional and educational needs.
The mission of Child Life professionals is to introduce laughter and joy into moments of stress for hospitalized children and their families – not only through games and toys, but by first understanding each child’s developmental level in order to best help her or him to:
- Understand the purpose of medical equipment that may be used through medical play
- Prepare children so they can comprehend WHY certain investigations must be done
- Distract children during needle sticks and other more complicated procedures or operations
- Explain at an appropriate developmental level what medical personnel have said
- Teach and practice with children alternative ways of coping with pain
- Provide advocacy for both the child and the family during hospitalization
Child Life at the Sally Test Pædiatric Centre provides:
Medical Play helps children familiarize and become comfortable with real medical equipment.
Procedural preparation helps children learn and enthusiastically anticipate upcoming medical procedures.
Procedural support helps children and families master and use coping skills during patient’s medical procedure. The CLHWs use a wide variety of distraction materials and techniques to divert young patients’ attention from unpleasant medical procedure such as high-interest books, light-up and sound toys, bubbles and more
Play – Understanding that “play is the work of childhood” that helps them integrate and understand their world, the STPC provides activities in its large playroom for mobile children and bedside activities for those who must remain in bed.
Additional Child Life services
- Teen program
- End of Chemotherapy celebrations
- Holiday celebrations
- Education of parents
- Education of medical staff
- Children’s Library
- Sibling visitation
- Legacy building that include memory books and beads of courage
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