Child Life Specialist is working with an inpatient on medical play.

Mar 21, 2018 / Spotlight

#SRHaccess Facebook LIVE Recap: Child Life

On this week’s Facebook live, two of our certified Child Life Specialists joined us to discuss their daily responsibilities and how their services help our patients each and every day. Below is a recap of the conversation.

Watch the live segment. 

What is Child Life?
  • Child Life is a service provided to all of our patients to help reduce fear and anxieties associated with being at a hospital. 
  • Child Life is all throughout the hospital – whether you are an inpatient, here for a clinic visit or radiology.
  • Common services provided by Child Life:
    • Preparing for surgery
    • Medical play
    • Explaining a diagnosis 
    • Coping with an upcoming procedure 
Child Life on the Inpatient Unit: 
  • Two certified Child Life Specialists work on the inpatient unit. 
  • They are integrated into the team and work alongside the nursing staff. 
    • Each day, they touch base with the nursing unit to know who the current inpatients are and whether or not they will need their services
    • Check to see if there are new patients coming that day.
    • Know the procedures of the day to plan their services accordingly. 
What should parents know if their child is an inpatient and needing Child Life?
  • Child Life is here and available!
  • Child Life does not require a doctor’s order.
  • A parent can ask for Child Life – each inpatient room includes a blue and yellow flyer with how to get in contact with a specialist. 
  • Patients coming to the hospital as an inpatient will most likely be admitted the day before. On admission day, the patients will visit with different departments and Child Life is one of their stops. During their visit with Child Life, our specialists have the opportunity to get to know the patients, understand their fears and anxieties about their procedure and put together a plan of action. 
  • Child Life will explain who the patients will meet during their stay at the hospital to make sure the patient and parent feel comfortable. 
Child life is for everybody!
  • Our specialists want parents and future patients to know that Child Life is not just for young children. 
  • Child Life works with infants, school aged children and teenagers. 
How is Child Life a resource after surgery? 
  • Pain control  – distraction and coping with pain after surgery, i.e. deep breathing to work through the pain.
  • Taking oral medication – teaching patients to swallow a pill.  
What is medical play?
  • Medical play is an exercise Child Life provides to teach patients about their procedure.
  • By using a doll or stuffed animal, the patient is able to use actual medical equipment (IVs, tape, gauze, etc.) to perform the procedure on that doll/stuffed animal. 
  • This exercise allows the patient to become comfortable with what they are about to go through and gives them the opportunity to know what to expect. 
  • Examples of medical play:
    • Putting in an IV – patients over the age of ten are awake before surgery when this is done. 
    • Medical play walks the patient through the steps, so when it is time for them to receive an IV, they know what to expect. 
    • Lab draw or cast removals.
Who is on the Child Life team? 
  • Team of eight.
  • Five are certified Child Life Specialists in various areas of the hospital.
  • Two specialists are responsible for the inpatient unit. 
  • A specialist is primarily in radiology for patients undergoing CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. Some patients need coaching/prepping before going into the scan so that they know what to expect. 
  • Specialists are available in all of the orthopedic, rheumatology and developmental disabilities clinics.
How is Child Life needed in clinics? 
  • A patient does not need approval from a doctor to have Child Life – a parent can call Child Life.  
  • Examples of needing Child Life during a clinic visit:
    • Cast removal and application
    • Suture removals
    • When a patient is needing to get their height and weight done
    • Examination by a physician
  • If your child is feeling anxious about anything, do not hesitate to contact Child Life to help him/her get through it. 
What is the playroom?
  • A location in the hospital for inpatients only, where the patients have a space to relax and have fun. 
  • The playroom includes different activities that the patients can participate in, such as:
    • Arts and crafts 
    • Air hockey
    • Basketball
    • Board games 
    • Video games
    • Movies
  • If a child cannot leave their room, Child Life will come to the patient to provides these activities. 
When is the playroom open?
Monday – Friday, 10 a.m – 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Learn more about our Child Life services. 

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