Needing medical care can be frightening for anyone, and especially so for children. That's why the Child Life Program, including our Facility Dog Program, is an important part of each child's hospital experience at Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento.
Child Life Specialists work with your child and family to make time spent in the hospital as normal as possible and to minimize emotional trauma. As a member of the care team, your Child Life Specialist supports you and your child during a hospital stay, surgery or a visit to the pediatric emergency department.
Our Child Life Specialists have undergraduate and graduate degrees in child growth and development, specifically focusing on how hospitalization affects children. They go through an extensive certification process through the Association of Child Life Professionals. They offer:
- Professional assessment of your child’s adjustment and reaction to a medical situation.
- Communication of patient's needs, coping styles and care plans to staff and family members.
- Age-appropriate explanation of medical procedures and terms so that children of all ages understand what is happening and why.
- Therapeutic play to help your child express feelings associated with hospitalization.
- Age-appropriate instruction on coping techniques to help your child through care that may be uncomfortable or scary.
- Emotional support for families, including including facilitation of sibling visits.
- Assistance with homework and coordination with your child’s school.
- Activities and games that let your child feel mastery over a situation and more in control over his or her hospital experience.
- Child-appropriate entertainment and special events for families in the hospital.
- Special programs, including art and music therapy, playrooms for children and teens, pediatric surgery tours and school programs for hospitalized children.