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UC Davis Children’s Hospital

UC Davis Children’s Hospital

Child Life Program

Patient and child life specialistThe mission of the Child Life Program is to provide a positive environment for the child, one in which they can grow and develop while receiving medical care. The program’s goal is to minimize the stress and anxiety of hospitalization and to strengthen the coping skills of the hospitalized child.

Child life specialists, music therapists and art therapists are trained to offer developmental, educational, and therapeutic interventions for children and their families under stress.

The child life specialist provides support in a variety of ways, including:

  • Meeting with the family to provide information, support, and guidance 
  • Explaining medical procedures and surgery to children using medical play puppets and medical equipment
  • Accompanying children to medical procedures and/or surgery in order to provide explanation, reassurance, and emotional support 
  • Supporting siblings to help with understanding of the hospital environment, coping and visitation
  • Arranging special events to patients and their families to help normalize the hospital environment

The art therapist and music therapist utilize the creative arts to assist healing by offering tools for self-expression while the children cope with symptoms, stress, or traumatic experiences. 

The Child Life Program also includes school teachers, a playroom coordinator and many volunteers.