What is a child life specialist?

Enjoy this post, written by Megan Kariger, MS, CCLS, certified child life specialist.

If your child spends time at Parkview Regional Medical Center or Parkview Hospital Randallia, then at some point during your visit you may see a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). The Association of Child Life Professionals explains that, “Certified Child Life Specialists are educated and clinically trained in the developmental impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve patient and family care, satisfaction, and overall experience.” What does that mean for you and your child’s experience at Parkview?

If you have to visit the Emergency Department, a child life specialist is typically available to offer procedural education and preparation to your child in kid-friendly terms. We also provide distraction or coping techniques to help your child handle a procedure, such as an IV start, blood draw, or laceration repair. Additionally, we provide your child with toys to play with or activities to do to help make the hospital seem a little less scary. We also check in with the patient’s siblings, parents, or other family members to make sure that they understand what is going on and provide them with the support they need so that they can be involved in their loved one’s care.

In the Pediatric Unit or the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, we prepare children for procedures and support them during those procedures. On the inpatient units, we also help with special visitors and special events. We provide education regarding a new diagnosis and/or a new treatment plan. We try to provide more opportunities for play and self-expression activities and assess how they are coping with their hospitalization. We also assist with memory making and provide emotional support during bereavements. We also provide family centered care, including emotional support, normalization, education, and implementing comfort measures to patients’ families.

If you have any questions for Parkview’s child life specialists, you can reach the team at ChildLifeServices@parkview.com.

 

 

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