March is Child Life Month, a month dedicated to celebrating child life specialists and the child life profession through education and awareness of their incredible work.
Certified Child Life Specialist: noun
A person who is educated and clinically trained in the developmental impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve patient and family care, satisfaction, and overall experience.1
Learning that your child requires hospitalization or extended medical care is every parent’s worst nightmare. The hospital experience comes with so many questions, fears, and anxieties, and that is just for the parents. A child experiences all of that, plus the needles, tests, and procedures. Child life specialists are there to meet the unique emotional and developmental needs of pediatric patients and their families, no matter their age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or medical needs. enCourage Kids is honored and proud to work alongside child life specialists across the country.
You may wonder what exactly a child life specialist does to support children and their families during a hospital stay or new diagnosis. While every child and every situation is different, child life specialists:
- Use therapeutic, developmentally-appropriate play interventions that allow children to cope, healing, mastery, and self expression2
- Prepare patients and their families for medical interventions and difficult medical concepts using age-appropriate language they understand
- Help children and their families cope with certain procedures through distraction or engagement
- Advocate for both their patient and their family
- Help ensure the child is on track developmentally during their hospital stay
- Support the patient and family through end-of-life care
For the 3 million children hospitalized every year in the United States, child life specialists understand the unique challenges that accompany a hospital visit. Together, with enCourage Kids’ support and funding, we are making hospitals a better place to get better.
Join us this month as we celebrate and share the stories of how child life specialists make a difference through our amazing guest bloggers. You won’t want to miss it!