About Child Life
A Child Life Specialist works with patients and families to reduce the
stress and anxiety that may be associated with the health care experience.
Our specialists help to ease fears and concerns by providing opportunities
for developmentally appropriate play and interaction, therapeutic play,
and procedural preparation.
Members of our child life staff hold degrees and training in the growth
and development of children. They provide age-appropriate information
to help children cope with the hospital and prepare them emotionally for
invasive procedures and surgery. Techniques include diagnosis education
and support, medical play and procedural preparation.
Child Life at Covenant Children’s
At Covenant Children’s, specially trained Child Life Specialists
make up part of the multidisciplinary team that makes a children's
hospital unique. Each of these trained specialists is knowledgeable in
the application of theories of child development, play, stress and coping,
and the family systems that make up the basis of our work with children.
Each of the specialists is, at a minimum, bachelors prepared and has completed
a semester long practicum and an additional semester long internship to
prepare them for the work they do with sick children. In addition, the
Child Life Specialists have passed rigorous certification exams.
The child life program at Covenant Children’s is committed to excellence
in its efforts to provide effective psychosocial support to its patients.
The child life program provides developmentally appropriate play, informative
and reassuring procedural preparation before and during procedures, and
helps children plan and rehearse coping skills. It is part of the interdisciplinary
and family-centered model of care, collaborating with the health care
team to develop a plan of care with families. The child life team develops
a plan of care that is based on a child's perception and understanding
of the anticipated experience with the goal of enhancing their ability
to cope. They teach children coping strategies for adjusting to life-changing
injury, offer non-pharmacologic pain-management techniques, and communicate
the child's developmental and individual needs to the care team.
At Covenant you can find Child Life Specialists in the following areas:
- Day Surgery/Same Day Surgery
- Emergency Department
- General Pediatrics
- Hematology/Oncology Clinic
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) - sibling consults
- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
- Consults for adult patients
Child Life Specialists value play as an essential, natural part of childhood
- important in its own right. Play facilitates healing, coping, mastery,
self-expression, creativity, achievement and learning, and is vital to
a child's optimal growth and development. Play is an integral aspect in
the practice of Child Life. Play is an important part of the way a child
learns about the world.
During times of stress, such as hospitalization or medical treatment, play
can provide a safe and familiar outlet for a child's emotions. This helps
the child cope more positively with the experience while promoting development
and independence. The Child Life staff strongly encourages play in the
hospital as a vital part of the recovery process.
Child life specialists work with patients to help them adapt to their surroundings.
They can be found playing with children in the playrooms or helping create
an artistic masterpiece with glitter and glue. Older patients enjoy a
board game, video game, iPAD, or a lesson on the computer.
Child Life Specialists also work to support families, to help them to cope
with the challenges of parenting their sick child, and the siblings who
are often scared or lonely as they too try to understand and cope. They
work as part of the multidisciplinary team to bring understanding and
perspective. Child Life specialists are an essential part of what makes
a children's hospital unique.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the provision of Child
Life Services is a quality benchmark of an integrated child health delivery
system and an indicator of excellence in pediatric care. Child Life programs
and the kind of services they provide are an essential component of family-centered care.
Brothers and sisters are important and are invited to come visit their
sibling who is in the hospital. Child Life Specialist’s at Covenant
Children are available and eager to accompany siblings visting the hospital.
We strive to help them to understand the illness or injury as well as
the strange and unfamiliar equipment they are seeing.
The Child Life specialist can help answer their questions in ways they
can understand and give them opportunities to express their concerns and feelings.