Child Life Services
WakeMed's Child Life program is designed especially for pediatric patients, ages 0 to 17.
Child Life Specialists:
- Reduce the stress and anxiety for children, teens, and their family members regarding the medical environment and medical experiences
- Prepare children, teenagers, and their families for hospitalization, surgery and medical procedures according to the child or teens age and development
- Facilitate distraction and coping during medical procedures and examinations according to their age and development
- Encourage self expression and normalization of the environment through general play, medical play, and therapeutic activities
- Provide developmentally appropriate resources and activities, such as playrooms, movies, video games, and crafts, to promote coping and encourage normal development
- Support the emotional and educational needs of parents, siblings, and other family members that may be present to support the patient
- Facilitate educational workshops, in-services, and presentations regarding the care of pediatric patients
- Provide emotional support for families during pediatric cases of bereavement
- Collaborate with other medical team members to create educational resources benefiting patients, families, and medical staff
Who are Child Life Specialists?
Child Life Specialists help children cope with the stress and anxiety that often accompanies a hospital experience.
Each of our Child Life Specialists has a bachelor's degree in child life, child development, recreational therapy, or other related field. After completing 480 hours of paid work or internship under the supervision of a certified Child Life Specialist, they are required to pass a board examination given by the Child Life Council in order to become certified.
Where do Child Life Specialists work at WakeMed?
WakeMed Child Life Specialists are located in different departments throughout the hospital system, including the Children's Emergency Department, the Pediatric Floor, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Day Surgery.
Day Surgery Center
- Provide pre-operative tours for children having surgery and their families to answer questions and clarify misconceptions about surgery and what to expect
- Provide additional resources and extended tours for children and teens anticipating Pectus procedures and Spinal Fusion procedures
- Accompanying children, as appropriate, to the operating room to normalize the environment and engage them in calm activities while going off to sleep
- Provide education and support for pediatric patients and their families before, during, and after various medical procedures and experiences
- Facilitate emotional support and education for pediatric patients and their families in the trauma bay
- Support and educate pediatric patients and their families during critical medical interventions
Pediatrics/Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
- Maintain and supervise play facilities tailored to encourage activity and positive coping throughout hospitalization
- Facilitate community visits and donations to WakeMed Children's in a way that reinforces the pediatric patients need for emotional support and encouragement
- Train, supervise, and evaluate WakeMed Volunteers assigned to patient care on Pediatrics and PICU, including pet therapy