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Child Life Program

Who We Are:

Hospitalization, medical procedures, illness, and pain are often fearful for people of all ages and especially for children. 

One of the ways Baystate Children's Hospital provides support and assistance to pediatric patients and their families is through our Child Life Program. Family-centered care is the foundation of our program, respecting the family's right to be involved, informed and influential in their child's care.

Support from the Child Life Team is available in the following areas:

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Unit
  • Children's Hospital Surgery Center
  • Emergency Room Just for Kids
  • Infant's and Children's Unit
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Special Procedure Unit
  • Radiology
  • School Liaison Program

Our child life professionals have experience in dealing with children's concerns and reactions to a variety of health care experiences and illnesses.  The child life specialists help children and their families understand what is happening through play, support and education.

Our child life specialists provide:

  • Play time to promote continued growth and development either in the playroom or at the bedside.
  • Preparation and medical play to encourage children to express fears, discuss misunderstandings, and gain a sense of control.
  • Support to children undergoing surgery, medical procedures and treatments, through the use of imagery, distraction, and diversion.  
  • Emotional support for families; inclusive of sibling interventions/education, and bereavement support at the time of death.
  • Special events and celebrations such as birthday parties and holiday events. Animal-Assisted Therapy (dogs and cats) visits are also coordinated through our program.

Academic Opportunities:
The Child Life Program also offers a Child Life Internship and practica experiences for the fall and winter semesters.

Our program is among the few in the country which has created a tiered Clinical Recognition Program (career ladder) for the child life specialists' growth in a variety of behavioral and practice domains.