The Child Life Department at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics
- Helps make the hospital more comfortable, easier to understand, and fun for patients and families.
- Tries to reduce the stress and worry that may come with being in the hospital or from being ill.
- Helps your child deal with their feelings, thoughts, and questions.
- Helps your child learn and grow while still in the hospital.
- Helps your child play and interact with other children and people.
The Department of Child Life
- Playgroups and Evening Programs
These are offered to inpatients to help your child learn, play or talk with other patients, and have fun. The child life specialist, the patient's nurse, and the medical team decide if/when a patient can go to playgroups and evening programs. Either the parent or a volunteer can take the patient to and from evening programs. For some programs, a parent or guardian may need to sign a consent form before the patient can attend. Programs may change or be cancelled due to holidays or department events. For questions or more information please ask a nurse to contact Child Life.
- Health Care Play
Health care play lets patients touch, feel, use, and learn about medical supplies and equipment. As patients touch and learn about medical items, they are able to feel more comfortable and in control. Health care play is offered by Child Life Specialists.
Preparation for procedures and/or surgery is done by Child Life Specialists.They use words that your child can understand. They also use many pictures, models, and medical items to help your child learn. Child Life Specialists tell your child what to expect and help them learn ways to cope.
- Procedure Support
Procedure support is provided by Child Life Specialists to help make it easier for you and your child to cope during difficult procedures. Examples of procedure support include helping distract patients (i.e. using toys, talking) and helping patients do relaxation activities.
- Family Support
Family support is offered by Child Life Specialists to help ease family stress and worry created by health care experiences. Brothers and sisters of inpatients are welcome to take part in activities. They should also be told what is going on and taught ways to cope with their brother or sister being in the hospital.
What is Music Therapy?
- Music that is specifically planned for each child and family's needs by trained professional.
- It usually includes both live vocal and instrumental music
- Children can take an active role in making music.
Who gets Music Therapy services?
- Individual patients can get music therapy at bedside.
- Group music therapy is offered on many units to give your child the chance to be with other children, express their feelings, and make the hospital more normal and comfortable.
- Infants can get music therapy too. This helps them use their senses (hearing, seeing, touching, etc.) and play.
- Families and siblings can take part too.
- Child life specialists, nurses, physicians, chaplains, or other staff can ask for your child to get music therapy. Or, you can ask for your child to get music therapy.
What can Music Therapy do?
- Help with your child's body, mind, and behaviors
- Use music to help your child reach other goals related to chronic pain, physical rehab, respiration, cardiac conditions, etc.
- Show your child ways to relax and ways to focus their mind on something else,
- Show your child ways to express their feelings.
- Lessen stress and worry
- Help manage pain and discomfort
- Improve your child's mood
- Help your child learn and grow
- Help your child cope during medical procedures
- Help the whole family
Child Life Specialists have a graduate or undergraduate degree in a variety of disciplines related to child development, psychology, education, family studies, or therapeutic recreation. Additionally, each Child Life Specialist has completed an internship working with children in a hospital setting. Child Life Specialists are certified through the Child Life Council certification exam.
Music Therapists have a graduate or undergraduate degree in music therapy, and have completed a 900 hour clinical internship. Music Therapists are board certified through the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Staff members participate in continuing education, and are encouraged to maintain membership in professional organizations.
Areas Staffed by Child Life
- All inpatient units and intensive care units
- Same Day Surgery
- Emergency Department
- Scan Clinic
- Renal Services
- Hematology/Oncology Clinic
- Children's Mercy South
*Please contact us if services are needed in areas not listed
Assigned Music Therapists support the following areas
- All inpatient and intensive care units
- Special Care Clinic (Botox Clinic)