Child Life Program
Providing a comfortable experience for patients and families is the goal of the Child Life Program at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. From pre-admission tours of the Pediatric Unit to music and pet therapies, the Child Life Program helps to lessen the trauma of illness.
Children about to undergo treatment are given a tour prior to admission. During the tour, they receive a bag containing a coloring book, a hospital hat, a mask, gloves and an identification bracelet. They are also shown the department’s colorful playroom filled with toys and books. In this comfortable and relaxed setting, they are introduced to the medical team that will care for them.
The Child Life Program provides young patients with play and other special therapies during their stay. A music therapist works with children and their families in the playroom or at the patient's bedside. The therapist provides music to comfort, soothe, and decrease pain and negative stimulation. Long-term patients are taught songwriting and general music as well.
Pet therapy is another element of the Child Life Program. Two specially trained dogs – a cocker spaniel and an English sheepdog – alternate their visits with the children once a week and create a welcome distraction.
Other activities, such as visits from local entertainers, arts and crafts, and bead making, keep children occupied throughout their stay at The Children’s Hospital.