A child’s needs in the Hospital are similar to those at home — 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 Hospital’s Child Life Services creates an environment to help ease children’s fears and provide the important emotional and psychosocial care to make the Hospital experience as manageable as possible for children and their families.
A Child Life Specialist is a specially trained professional with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in child life, education, psychology, or other closely related field. To become a certified Child Life Specialist, one must complete an internship and take a written exam.
Certified Child Life Specialists:
For more information, you can visit the Child Life Council, www.childlife.org.
The Child Life Center in the Komansky Center for Children’s Health is filled with toys, video games, and computers, and provides a respite from the medical setting. Located on Greenberg 6 North, the Child Life Center offers age-appropriate activities for children to use in the playroom or to borrow to use in their room.
Computers are available for patient use, and families often use them to quickly check their email so they can feel connected as well. We also have laptop computers, as well as various game systems, which can be signed out for a child’s or teen’s use at his or her bedside. Please check with the Child Life Specialist on your unit for the hours that the Child Life Center is open.
Child Life Services also has a board-certified music therapist. Music therapists use music to decrease stress, anxiety, and pain, and help children and teens express their concerns and fears. Music therapists are credentialed professionals who have completed an approved music therapy program.
Being in a hospital can be stressful for children. The Hospital’s pet therapy program provides weekly visits from therapy dogs to our hospitalized children with permission from their doctor. The use of therapy dogs has been shown to help reduce stress for some pediatric patients and their families.
Hospitalized children in grades K though 12 can keep up with their studies through the Hospital’s school program, which provides a teacher certified through the New York City Department of Education. Please speak to the Hospital’s school teacher for more information. In addition to providing classroom or bedside instruction on-site, the program maintains a close liaison with your child’s home school and facilitates the provision of remedial help or tutoring as needed. Teachers also help prepare and administer city- and state-required tests, including Regents exams, the SAT, and the GED exam.
The Komansky Center for Children’s Health is focused on maximizing the support provided to patients and their families when a child suffers from a chronic illness. The Pediatric Support Team is a medical team that addresses the needs of these patients by optimizing their quality of life and offering suggestions regarding symptom management. The goal of the Pediatric Support Team is to assist in clarifying patient and family treatment preferences and to support the patient, family, and health care team. Please speak with your child’s nurse if you would like a consultation with the Pediatric Support Team.
Sometimes patients and/or their families need special support that can often best be found in the company of others who are sharing a similar experience. Support groups can help patients and family members manage and cope with illness or disability. The groups are offered free of charge. Please call the Department of Social Work for more information or speak to your child’s social worker.