March is Child Life Month
Child Life Specialists: Empowering Children and Families to Cope with Life's Challenges
A child's needs in the hospital are similar to those at home--a need to feel secure, comforted, and accepted and to be able to engage in age-appropriate activities. These needs are often magnified by the stress of illness and hospitalization. Recognizing that being hospitalized can be frightening to children, the Child Life Program at Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center creates an environment designed to ease children's fears and provide the important emotional and social care to make the hospital experience as pleasant as possible for both the child and the family.
The Child Life staff consists of professionals trained in child development and special education who apply their expertise to help children understand their unfamiliar situation. Through their knowledge of child growth and development issues and children's reactions to the stresses of illness and medical procedures, Child Life Specialists offer opportunities for patients and their families to gain mastery over difficult experiences. They provide developmentally appropriate information to children and adolescents about their diagnosis and treatments, helping to clarify misconceptions and fears while maintaining a child's self-esteem.
To celebrate these healthcare heroes, Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is offering parent and staff education, community outreach, and ice cream socials throughout the month. Look for a schedule of events posted in the lobby of the CHC and outside the playroom on the fifth floor of the hospital.
Child Life Services available at Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center include the inpatient pediatric units and the McGovern-Davison Children's Health Clinic. For more information about the Child Life Program at Duke, call 681-4349 or 681-5419.