Child Life Services
Being in a hospital and surrounded by unfamiliar people can be stressful to a child. The Child Life Program at Nebraska Medicine was created to help children and their families understand the healthcare environment and develop age appropriate ways to cope with the experience.
The Child Life Specialists at the medical center have earned either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in child development or a related field. Their job is to help the family and the children through the process of understanding a complex illness and hospital setting.
Medical play, discussion about misconceptions and even distractions are used to ease the fears that a child may have and allow them to gain a sense of control over intense medical situations. Additional activities such as special events, outings, birthday parties and visits from volunteer and foster grandparents promote continued growth and development and reinforce normalcy in the child’s life.
Because Nebraska Medicine is a level one trauma center and renowned in areas of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation and oncology, the Child Life Specialists are often called upon provide support to children of adult patients.
Some of the more common questions our specialists are able to answer are:
- "What do we say to the children?"
- "Should they be allowed to visit?"
- "How do I know if they understand?"
If you or someone you know is struggling with how to best approach the serious topic of hospitalization or even death with a child, Nebraska Medicine has brochures with specific advice on how to address these difficult topics with children.
Visit the Child Life Resources web page for more information.