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At Children’s Mercy, your child’s care involves so much more than medical treatment. Our Family Care Team looks at your child’s unique needs—physical, developmental, emotional, educational and spiritual—within the context of your family. This helps us provide comprehensive, whole-person care for your child, while also supporting parents, siblings and other special people in their life.

Family support from Children’s Mercy staff members 

Child Life 

The Child Life team helps your child and their siblings cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness and hospitalization. Child Life Specialists are child development experts who work to ensure life remains as normal as possible for your child while they are receiving treatment.  

From organizing playroom activities to teaching kids what to expect during a procedure, the Child Life team will help reduce stress and foster learning and growth during their time in the hospital.  

Social Work 

Social workers understand that any change in the child’s health can alter your family’s life in many ways. They are trained to provide a thorough assessment and address the ongoing needs of your family. 

Clinical social workers provide much more than crisis care. They can help with: 

  • Therapeutic support, such as adjusting to illness, family concerns, end of life and bereavement care 

  • Care planning, such as education on advance directives, school concerns, legal issues and transition to adult care 

  • Community and resource referrals, such as assistance with financial concerns, transportation and lodging needs, support groups and mental health referrals 

  • Your social worker will be a part of your core care team from the beginning and will stay with your family through every stage of your child’s treatment and beyond. 

Parent Support

The Parent Support Team assists parents and caregivers manage the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with caring for a child who is ill and requires hospitalization. Parent Support Program Coordinators offer comfort, support, encouragement, and guidance to caregivers and encourage participation in self-care activities, as well as with supporting siblings and other family members. 

From navigating your hospital stay and follow-up care, to outpatient clinic visits, the Parent Support team offers connection to helpful resources, and emotional support to parents and caregivers, based on their unique situation and experience.

Mental and emotional health 

The intensity and upheaval of treatment for cancer or a blood disorder on your family's life can be overwhelming. The Family Care Team has two dedicated psychologists ready to listen and help guide you through this challenging time.

Spiritual services 

Chaplains are available 24 hours a day to provide spiritual support to people of all faith traditions. Our chaplain can spend time with your family and contact your own clergy person or spiritual leader if you would like. 

You are welcome to visit the Lisa Barth Chapel for services, prayer and reflection at any time. 

Music therapy 

When children make music together with one of our trained and certified music therapists, it can improve their mood, reduce anxiety during procedures, and help them learn and grow during their hospital stay.  

Music therapists use live vocal and instrumental music as well as recorded music to support your child's wellness goals. 

School at the hospital

Hospital-based school teachers help your child continue their school work during an extended absence from the classroom. They can also facilitate conversations with your child's teachers to help them have a smoother transition back to school. 

Special events and support for teens 

The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program is designed to support teens and young adults ages 13-21 who are receiving treatment for cancer or blood disorders.  

Teens have different needs and concerns than younger children who are receiving treatment. Together with the staff, teens in the AYA Program have made improvements such as: 

  • A teen unit and teen room on our inpatient floor 

  • A peer mentoring program 

  • Education and programs about fertility preservation 

  • Help with the process of transitioning to adult health care providers 

  • A Teen Advisory Board for Hematology/Oncology patients 

  • Teenapalooza events to promote peer interaction 

  • Ongoing education and support for teens and their families