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Play is a pleasant and non-threatening way your child learns about the world. Play provides something safe and familiar during stressful times such as hospitalization or medical procedures. The Child Life Program encourages your child to continue playing while in the hospital in order to promote recovery, normal development, and independence.Medical Play
Your child may encounter medical equipment in the hospital setting that can cause anxiety and fear. Child Life Specialists can use medical play to help your child express feelings related to the hospital. By using real medical equipment to perform procedures on dolls, the patient can gain a sense of control and understanding.Activity Areas
Activity Rooms are located throughout the hospital, as well as an outdoor play deck outside the main playroom on the third floor. The Child Life staff or volunteers can show you which playroom meets the needs of your child's age and ability. Because no medical procedures are allowed in these areas children see these playrooms as a safe place.
Certified Child Life Specialists acquaint children and families with the hospital prior to admission, prepare children for medical tests, procedures and surgeries, provide structured play opportunities to promote normal growth and development and incorporate medical play experiences to enhance the child's understanding of medical events.
Child Life and Education services are available to all inpatient care units, clinics, Ambulatory Surgery Center and the Emergency Room. Times change during the holidays, please call the Child Life and Education department at 501-364-1412.Weekday Hours
Siblings and friends are important parts of the hospital experience, both for the siblings and the patient. Visiting a patient in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the first time can be hard for children because the sights and sounds are new to them. Child Life Specialists are available to prepare young visitors before they go into one of our ICU’s (PICU, NICU, CVICU, Burn Unit). Preparation for their visit can reduce anxiety and offer a safe setting for questions about the patient and his/her condition. It is important that siblings and visitors are healthy and do not have a fever, cold, cough, or unexplained rash.
Volunteers are a vital part of the Child Life team. Volunteers work in activity areas to provide one-to-one play with the patient in a group setting. When a patient is not able to leave their rooms, volunteers can go to the patient’s room to provide age-appropriate activities and opportunities for play on an individual basis.
Expressive arts help the patient express feelings when he or she is unable to describe emotions with words. Child Life Specialists are trained to provide music interventions, allowing the patient to use music as a means of coping with hospitalization. Many craft activities in the playroom and teen room are also planned to promote self-expression.Links
Programs and services provided by the Child Life & Education department help to decrease stress during hospitalization and to address the psychosocial and emotional needs of your child. Services include music therapy, hospital school, and the TAILS program plus activity rooms to meet the needs of your child’s age and ability.
If your child is scheduled to have surgery or procedures, a Child Life Specialist is available to prepare and teach you and your child about what he or she may experience.Learn More