To ease the emotional stress of a serious medical condition, child life specialists at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU provide the smiles and support to help children and their families cope. They ease their young patients' adjustment to unfamiliar hospital surroundings through playful activities and celebrations that make everyone more relaxed and comfortable.
To counter the impact of illness, injury or disability, child life specialists aim to:
- Bridge the gap between home and hospital
- Develop supportive relationships with child and family
- Help children and families cope with healthcare experiences
- Increase familiarity with healthcare surroundings
- Prepare children and families for medical encounters
- Provide age-appropriate activities
- Work closely with families and the health care team to minimize stress
The specialists in child life at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU provide a wide range of activities, including:
- Bereavement support
- Connections to supportive resources (Songs of Love, Courage Lions, Starlight, etc.)
- Emotional support
- Family/sibling support
- Holiday/birthday celebrations
- Medical play (hands on interaction with medical equipment for familiarization)
- Movies and video games
- Play, playrooms and toys appropriate to the child's age and development
- Preparation for siblings to visit a hospitalized child
- Pre-opperative tours for surgical patients
- Pre-surgical preparation
- Procedural preparation, accompaniment and support (blood draws, X-rays, etc.)
- Special events
- Volunteer training and supervision
Three playrooms/spaces – an infant/toddler room, a pre-school/school-age room and a roof-top Children's Garden are available for therapeutic play.
You can support the Child Life team and the families they serve with gifts of time through volunteering, in-kind donations, gift cards or monetary donations. To learn more about how you can help, visit the Children's Hospital Foundation website.
To contact child life, please call (804) 828-3415.