In order to make hospitalization a positive and less stressful experience, child life specialists strive to alleviate stress and anxiety while promoting positive coping strategies. The following interventions can be useful for children who are hospitalized and/or having a procedure.
During procedural preparation, child life specialists provide children with developmentally appropriate information to help a child cope before, during, and after their hospital experience.
Child life specialists use teaching aids, photos, and actual medical equipment to explain step-by-step what your child will experience during their procedure. This information focuses on what the child will possibly see, feel, hear, smell, and taste.
Benefits of preparation:
• Helps reduce fears and misconceptions
• Allows your child to explore and become familiar with medical equipment
• Creates a sense of mastery and control in an unfamiliar environment
• Enables your child to build a trusting relationship with their child life specialist
• Establishes a coping plan to enable your child to successfully complete their procedure
Distraction can help children positively cope with difficult or painful procedures by diverting their attention away from the procedure and onto something interesting and/or relaxing.
Child life specialists use developmentally appropriate tools and relaxation techniques to engage your child in distraction. This is typically a part of the coping plan that is established during preparation.