The Texas Children's Child Life Department provides developmental, educational and therapeutic interventions for children undergoing medical treatment. Child life services help children effectively manage stress, which reduces the need for potentially dangerous sedatives and pain medications and helps children heal faster with less long-term psychological effects.
With more than 30 child life professionals, Texas Children's has one of the largest child life departments in the country. Child life specialists are professionals who have studied normal child development and the reactions of children to health care settings. They provide emotional and psychosocial interventions to hospitalized children based on individual needs. Child life partners maintain hospital playrooms, provide bedside play opportunities and facilitate special events to help normalize the environment and promote developmentally appropriate play in all areas of the hospital.
The Child Life Department also employs 2 full-time library coordinators who oversee the Pi Beta Phi Patient/Family Library and a library assistant who takes care of more than 80 Pi Beta Phi Book Nooks in waiting rooms on the main campus, as well as in Texas Children’s Pediatrics practices throughout greater Houston. Our administrative assistant helps facilitate the day-to-day operations of the department.
Child life specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children, collaborating with parents and other health care staff to:
- Ease a child's fear and anxiety with therapeutic and recreational play activities
- Encourage understanding and cooperation by providing preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries and other medical procedures
- Advocate for patient and family-centered care
- Engage and energize children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment and activities
- Consider the needs of siblings or other children who may also be affected by a child's illness or trauma
- Offer pre-admission hospital tours, resources, and consultations for outpatient families
- Support families confronting grief and bereavement issues
- Provide education and resources for parents and members of the interdisciplinary team