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Child Life Services

Empowering Children and Their Families

Because hospitalization can be traumatic for children, our child life specialist plays an integral role in Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Pediatrics Department. This specially trained professional helps patients and families cope with the stress and anxiety of hospitalization, their medical condition and the treatments involved.

Our child life specialist can provide emotional support and encourage optimum development for all Illinois Masonic Medical Center pediatric patients. We offer a wide range of child life services depending on the needs and wishes of our patients and their families.

What Is a Child Life Specialist?

A certified child life specialist (CCLS) is a trained professional who focuses on the emotional needs of children, collaborating with parents and health care staff to:

  • Offer patient and parent education
    Using age-appropriate language and educational materials, the child life specialist helps children learn about their medical condition and prepare for surgery or treatment. The specialist can help reduce a child’s fear and anxiety by giving just the right amount of information, based on the child’s age and level of development. The specialist can also help familiarize parents with hospital procedures and resources. Studies show that children who are prepared for medical procedures experience less fear and anxiety and have better long-term adjustment to medical challenges.
  • Provide support during medical procedures
    A child life specialist can help manage pain and anxiety during medical procedures by accompanying the child during the procedure and using distraction and coping techniques. The specialist can also assist parents in helping their child during medical procedures.
  • Promote family-centered care
    A child life specialist can provide information, advocacy and support to families of pediatric patients. Special programs are also available to support siblings of patients.
  • Provide a positive experience for patients
    A child life specialist identifies opportunities for effective coping through play and other self-expressive activities to help children have fun in spite of challenging circumstances.

Learn more about child life specialists.

Request a Child Life Specialist

For more information or to request child life services, talk with your physician or call 773.296.7127.

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