Easing Children’s Fears in Health Care: Child Life Services Honored in Video Released for Child Life Month

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Utilizing techniques like medical play, child life specialists play an important role on health care teams, detecting and addressing children’s feelings and responses to medical environments. A new video, “That’s Child Life,” relays the story of a regional hospital that hired a child life specialist and found improvements in the quality of care provided to patients and families.

When children are playing, they act out scenarios and show us what they’re feeling.

"Doctors are never afraid."

A fearful, hospitalized child once told this to child life specialist and faculty advisor at Bank Street College of Education, Deborah Vilas. The statement has remained foremost in her mind in symbolizing the therapeutic and telling nature of medical play.

A new video, "That’s Child Life," released for Child Life Month (March) explains more.

"Play is a child’s language," Vilas shares. "Children won’t sit down and just talk about their feelings and say, ‘I felt sad today and I think I’m anxious about the medical treatment I’m getting.’ When children are playing, they act out scenarios and show us what they’re feeling."

Utilizing techniques like medical play, child life specialists play an important role in health care settings, detecting and addressing children’s feelings and responses to medical environments.

As a result of their work in soothing children prior to, during, and following procedures, child life specialists find that the need for medicine is often reduced, as are hospitalized stays. Their interventions can also inoculate children against trauma and medical phobia, influencing children’s lifelong relationships with the healthcare system.

Yet child life specialists are employed in only a fraction of pediatric hospital settings. Their salaries are paid by hospitals rather than insurance so, as with all important services in health care, their value must be justified.

"That’s Child Life" relays the story of a regional hospital that took the journey. In the video, Rochester Regional Hospital’s director of grants, along with medical team members, describe the employment of child life services and initial reactions from medical team members. They also explore its impact, especially in terms of quality care for the patients and families served by the hospital, as well as in operational benefits for medical staff. The result? Watch it to find out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daysNlDgSAw

"That’s Child Life" was commissioned by the Child Life Council, the leading professional association for child life specialists. The Child Life Council provides members with professional development programs, resources, and networking opportunities. It also advances best practices. Membership is comprised of more than 5,000 specialists, child life assistants, university educators and students, hospital administrators and staff, and others involved in the psychosocial care of children. For more information on the Child Life Council, please contact Shirene Urry, Manager of Communications and Marketing or visit http://www.childlife.org.

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Shirene Urry
@ChildLifeCouncl
since: 05/2010
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Child Life Council
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