Child Life Specialists are certified healthcare professionals with a strong background in child development and family systems. Their education typically includes an emphasis on human growth and development, education, psychology or a related field of study. They also have years of experience in observing how children respond to the many aspects of hospitalization.
It seems there are more and more things in the world that can make children feel anxious, afraid, confused, alone or sad. If your child has to go to the hospital they might have some of those feelings.
When a child is faced with a difficult or unexpected experience such as chronic illness or hospitalization their ability to cope may be overwhelmed. The reality is that hospitals,with their unfamiliar environment and potentially scary procedures, can be challenging for children and families. They work to make the child’s hospital visit more comfortable, anxiety-free, child friendly and, in many cases, fun.
Ashley Starliper, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist from Riverton Hospital ,gives you some tips to help prepare your child for a hospital visit:
- Be honest about where they’re going.
- Give information that’s age appropriate
- Use softer language. A quick pinch instead of a shot. Describe an IV as a straw for their bodies to receive a drink and to get a medicine to help them feel better.
- If they’ve been in before, and are worried, ask “What is the hardest part and how could we make it easier?”
- Visit hospital ahead of time if possible, especially for outpatient surgery. Contact the hospital ahead of time and ask what materials might be available to review at home.
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