Child Life Services
Child Life services at California Pacific Medical Center is staffed by Child Life specialists who are professionally trained to help to reduce the stress and anxiety children and their families may encounter as a result of illness, injury, or hospitalization.
Child Life Services Provided
Child Life specialists provide comprehensive psychosocial, developmental, and informational services to children and families in order to normalize the hospital environment. Child Life Specialists are assigned to every pediatric inpatient unit including the Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), step-down unit, and outpatient areas such as same day surgery, the pre-admission program, Pediatric Emergency Department, and the pediatric specialty care center.
Child Life specialists can help:
- Promote normal growth and development.
- Encourage understanding and cooperation by providing preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries and other medical procedures (including pre-op tours).
- Provide opportunities for therapeutic medical play: through exploration and play, children have the opportunity to learn about the hospital in a non-threatening manner.
- Family member support: such as sibling orientation to hospital environment, support for parents to assist their children during medical procedures.
- Advocate for patient- and family-centered care.
- Provide activities to help create a “home-like” environment.
- Provide assistance with homework/educational activities and coordinate with your child’s school.
Child Life Programs
A playroom for younger children and a recreation room for school-age children and teens offer age-appropriate toys and activities. We encourage families to use these spaces whenever possible. For children who are unable to come to the playroom, we provide bedside activities.
The Pediatric Pre-Admission Program helps parents and their children become more familiar with the hospital environment before the day of surgery. To schedule your tour with a child life specialist, please call (415)600-6278.
The tour is appropriate for school age children and may take up to 20 minutes in length.
School Liaison Program
A school liaison is available on the pediatric inpatient units to assess educational needs. All pediatric inpatient school-age children are to be evaluated for their educational needs. An individualized education plan is developed, if appropriate, while children are hospitalized. We may consult with hospital staff, patient, family and/or school/school district regarding the patient’s status and ability to attend school, to help determine appropriate school course work and learning needs. We assist with homework completion through tutoring, as well as setting up a hospital schedule that includes time for school work. The school liaison acts as an advocate for any further educational needs including IEPS, 504’s and other modifications to their school program.
Antepartum Child Life Services
Child Life Specialists are available to meet with women who are hospitalized or put on bed rest prior to birth (antepartum mothers) to discuss the impact on children at home. We provide support and resources that focus on the emotional and developmental needs of your children during this time. Our goal is to help minimize the effects of bed rest and hospitalization on older siblings. Child Life is available to support parents in finding appropriate parent/child bed rest activities for children visiting the hospital and at home.
NICU Child Life Services
Child Life supports parents in providing developmentally appropriate stimulation for their pre-term infant. We provide parents with tips and resources to promote optimal development while their newborn is in the NICU and for when they take their baby home. We also provide one-on-one, developmentally appropriate, activities for NICU patients, based on physician’s referral.
Child Life offers emotional support and developmentally appropriate information to children about their new baby brother or sister who is staying in the NICU and about the NICU environment. Parents can schedule a “Sib Session” with the NICU Child Life Specialist, who will utilize medical play, real hospital equipment, and pictures to prepare children for the experience of visiting their newborn brother or sister in the NICU.
To speak with a Child Life Specialist in the NICU or Antepartum department, please call 415-600-0714.
Child Life Internship Program
The Child Life Internship Program is a 14-week internship providing students with an opportunity to develop and strengthen their professional skills.
Pediatrics at California Pacific Medical Center
California Pacific Medical Center, a San Francisco hospital that is part of the Sutter Health network, offers pediatric care to babies, young children, and adolescents to age 18 through our network of primary and specialty care pediatricians. Our doctors provide care at clinics throughout the Bay Area and at our hospital inpatient units.