Child Life Specialists and volunteers provide a variety of activities to patients including age-appropriate toys and games, arts and crafts, movies, and music in designated activity areas and at patient bedsides. Since play is children’s “work” and their means of exploration, discovery, and conflict resolution, it is the primary tool of the Child Life Program. Child Life staff will provide games, toys, and activities at the patient’s bedside for those children who require isolation during hospitalization and are unable to visit the playroom.
A major component of the Child Life Program is “medical play,” which is based on the premise that familiarization with hospital equipment and procedures reduces stress. Facilitated by a Child Life Specialist, children have the opportunity to use real or toy medical equipment in a play and teaching session. Medical play can be individualized for patients experiencing increased stress associated with a certain treatment or who are undergoing particular procedures.
To enhance the activities regularly provided to patients and families, the Child Life Program organizes special events in collaboration with various community organizations and businesses. In addition to weekly visits by clowns, music therapists, and pet therapy dogs, the Pediatric Unit welcomes holiday visitors, musicians, librarians, and other entertainers to share a smile with patients and families. Child Life Specialists and staff also make every effort to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other special events with the children in the hospital. For more information click here.
Activity areas designed specifically for children’s different needs are available to patients. Medicalprocedures are not permitted in any of the activity areas, which are considered to be a child’s “safe haven” within the hospital.
The Main Playroom is available to patients of all ages and is equipped with many toys, games, arts and crafts materials, books, music, and more. It is open daily at varying hours. The weekly schedule is posted on the playroom door.
A separate playroom is set aside for those children unable to attend activities in the Main Playroom due to reverse isolation. Children who are immunosuppressed can play safely in this smaller playroom and enjoy many of the same activities available in the Main Playroom. For patients who are 12 years and older, a Teen Room is designed to meet the needs of the adolescent population. Computers with Internet access and video games are just a few of the highlights. Both of these playrooms
The pre-admission tour takes children on a multi-sensory journey through areas of the hospital that a child may encounter during his or her admission or surgical experience. Being admitted to the hospital or having surgery can be a stressful experience for anyone, but it can be particularly upsetting for children and their families. Helping children to understand procedures and familiarizing them with the different areas and settings can significantly reduce anxiety. On the tour, children can see and touch hospital equipment, meet medical staff, and experience the hospital environment in a safe, non-threatening manner. Tours should be taken as close to the hospital visit as possible, and are offered on weekends. Appointments must be made in advance by calling Child Life Services at (631) 444-3840 . A virtual pre-operative tour is available online.
Invasive and sometimes painful procedures are an unfortunate reality of hospitalization. Child Life Specialists are available to assist children with procedures through preparation, guided imagery and relaxation, diversion, and introducing coping techniques. When possible, a Child Life Specialist may accompany a patient to the procedure. These practices can help reduce a child’s anxiety and perception of pain. For more information about the Child Life Program, please call (631) 444-3840 , or visit http://sbumc.informatics.sunysb.edu/pediatrics/childlife