The Child Life Program at Winthrop-University Hospital
Helping ease the anxiety of hospitalization through play, education and support.
Hospitalization can be scary for anyone. For children, it can be a particularly frightening experience. At Winthrop-University Hospital, we created our Child Life Program specifically to ease the fear and anxiety of children who are hospitalized and their families by addressing their unique emotional and development needs during this challenging time.
The Program’s child life specialists are trained in child development and in meeting the special needs of children who are ill and hospitalized. Through play, education and support, the specialists help calm fears, plan fun-filled activities, and take away the stress and loneliness that can be a part of the hospital experience.
The Child Life Playroom
At the heart of the program is the Child Life Playroom – a “safe haven” where kids can be kids away from tests, needles, and treatments. Here, young patients can socialize with other children and enjoy supervised activities such as painting, playing games, and reading.
There is also an extensive library of donated movies at the Child Life Playroom for patients to enjoy during their hospital stay. Weekly clown visits, as well as special visits by sports celebrities, help to brighten the days of patients. Additional activities are regularly planned such as arts and crafts projects, and programs for siblings and parents.
The Goals of the Child Life Program
- Help the patient overcome fear and anxiety
- Alleviate long and short-term emotional effects of hospitalization
- Transform hospitalization from a potentially frightening experience into a positive one that promotes the child’s growth and development
- Provide the family with emotional support as well as answers to questions, serving as a link between the hospital and home
- Improve the child’s and family’s understanding of medical procedures through education and medical play
- Provide the hospitalized child with a sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation