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With more than 50 professionals, Texas Children's Child Life Department is made up of a variety of teammates, all striving to positively impact the patient and family experience throughout the hospital stay.
The Child Life Department offers a number of services designed to make the hospital experience as positive as possible for both patients and their families. These services include:
- A school program
- Age-appropriate activities
- Animal-assisted therapy
- Art therapy
- Closed circuit media programs (ZTV) - Channel 19.1
- Family and sibling support programs
- Developmentally appropriate explanations of medical tests, procedures and surgeries
- Library and family resource center
- Music therapy
- Technology and gaming activities
Please call 832-826-1650 if you would like a child life department staff member to help you or your child.
Child Life Specialists
Child Life Specialists know that the hospital can bring up different feelings for your child. Therefore, they will work with you to support your child’s emotional needs. Child life specialists are available to help prepare children, adolescents and young adults for medical treatments and procedures. They use developmentally appropriate teaching tools like imagery, distraction and relaxation to reduce anxiety and help children develop coping strategies.
Child life specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children, collaborating with parents and other health care staff to:
- Provide children (patients or siblings) with developmentally appropriate diagnosis education regarding illness and treatment
- Encourage understanding and cooperation by providing preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries and other medical procedures
- Develop coping plan and provide various methods of distraction during medical tests and procedures
- Assist patients with developmental delays and/or autism who need accommodations or support during medical treatment
- Ease a child’s fear and anxiety with therapeutic and recreational play opportunities to encourage coping, development and expression of feelings for patients and siblings
- 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
- Assist in maintaining a connection with siblings at home and friends at school
- 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
Child Life Activity Coordinators promote coping through creativity, play and normalizing the hospital environment. Activity Coordinators provide events and activities that encourage patients and siblings to remain playful in the hospital setting. Activity Coordinators encourage developmentally appropriate play opportunities for patients and their families. They are able to promote socialization, and peer-to-peer interactions during structured playroom time, group activities and bedside activities.
Our Child Life Activity Coordinators:
- Develop programming and play throughout the hospital
- Support volunteers who work in playrooms and at the bedside
- Assist families in accessing school services in the hospital
- Encourage movement, socialization and development through play
Patient Technology Activity Coordinators
At Texas Children's Hospital, Patient Technology Coordinators use video games and technology to support patients through their hospitalization by supporting their emotional, developmental, psychosocial and physical needs. Over 70% of American kids (under 18) play video games and our Patient Technology Coordinators are here to help them level up! (The Entertainment Software Association, 2022) They are able to promote normalization and socialization in real life “IRL” or virtually during playroom sessions, group sessions and bedside sessions.
Our Patient Technology Coordinators:
- Develop programming, gaming and technology throughout the hospital
- Support our Player2 volunteers who work in playrooms and at the bedside
- Encourage movement, socialization and development through gaming and technology
- Supports the needs of limited mobility gamers using adaptive devices such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller, so everyone can play
- Provides XR opportunities to patients in bedside and co-treat sessions with other medical disciplines in the hospital. (XR is extended reality, which includes VR, virtual reality, and AR, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies.)
- Supports STEM goals by engaging patients in 3D Printing, 3D Modeling, art and web design, etc.
- Encourages further learning through our Roaming Robots program that brings patients on virtual field trips, to events around the hospital and even community partners such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Patient Technology Services
Group and individual sessions are provided to various inpatient units and populations throughout Texas Children’s Hospital, including:
- Acute Care units
- Critical Care
- Heart Center
- Cancer and Hematology Center
Individual consults/referrals are available.