The Child Life program appreciates your interest in the patients at Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge. Exciting activities and community visitors help make a child's and teenager's stay in the hospital more pleasant. To get the most out of your special involvement, we ask that you read our community visitor guidelines.
Community Visitor Guidelines
Community Visitor Form
Supporting Child Life Programs
Service Project Ideas
Community Visitor Guidelines
Involvement with hospitalized children can be a unique and rewarding experience. Hospitalized children and their families are most appreciative of a special event. Entertainment and special visitors give patients an opportunity to interact with different people from our community.
Individuals or groups wishing to visit Advocate Children's Hospital must receive approval from the Child Life department prior to a visit. If we are unable to accommodate your group, we encourage you to consider an alternate service project or donation for our patients.
To ensure a positive experience for you, and an enjoyable and safe visit with our patients, we ask that you honor our visitation guidelines listed below:
Practice the activity you will be presenting to the patients. Your visit will run more smoothly if you are well prepared.
Visitors to the unit must be free of any signs of infection (i.e. cough, cold, fever, rash, vomiting or diarrhea). Anyone exposed to chicken pox who has not yet had the illness, measles, or other contagious illness within the past three weeks will not be allowed to participate. Group leaders will be responsible for screening members prior to the visit. (A screening form may be obtained from the Child Life department.) The Child Life department will also take precautions to protect visitors from exposure to contagious or infectious patients. If a visitor shows any signs of infection within three days of the visit, please contact the Child Life office, so our Infection Control Department can be notified.
On the day of your visit, please allow enough time to get to the hospital, park, and enter the building. Click here for directions and parking instructions. Please keep in mind that Advocate Children's Hospital cannot reimburse guests for parking or validate parking passes.
Please enter through Advocate Hospital's main entrance. Stop at the Public Safety Office and present your Visitor Form, which includes your name, the name of the Child Life specialist you are meeting and the Child Life specialist's pager number. The Child Life specialist will be notified of your arrival and will escort you to the unit.
Limit your group size to no more than six visitors as space is limited and large numbers of people can be overwhelming to young children.
Consider wearing nametags. This will enable staff to identify individuals by name and make your visit more personal.
Please keep your visit short (from 30 minutes to an hour) as patients tire easily, and some have a limited attention span.
Help us to maintain a quiet environment by avoiding unnecessary noise.
Mylar balloons are the only type of balloon that can be given to patients. Latex balloons are prohibited, due to possible allergic reactions and choking hazards.
Please do not bring refreshments or food items for patients as some of our patients are on restricted diets, and must have their food intake regulated.
A large patient turnout cannot be guaranteed as many of our patients are on bed rest. Whenever possible, we will try to bring the activity, at least in part, into individual patient rooms. We appreciate your flexibility in planning accordingly.
During your visit with patients, please be aware of our need to protect patients' privacy and understand that we do not discuss patient health conditions. The hospital's confidentiality policy safeguards our patients' right to privacy.
Permission for personal photographs must be obtained from Child Life staff prior to your visit. In addition, personal photographs may not be taken of any patient without first obtaining a signed written release from the patient's parents.
The children and families we serve are from various social backgrounds, home environments, religions and nationalities. It is our mission to respect those differences and avoid offering just one point of view. Out of respect for this diversity, any program with religious content must be discussed with and approved by the Child Life department before being presented.
The hospital is not liable for loss or damage to personal property. Individuals and groups visiting Advocate Children's Hospital assume all responsibility for any personal belongings, equipment, etc. brought into hospital property.
Should you need to cancel your visit for any reason, please contact the Child Life office as soon as possible at 847.723.PLAY.
Community Visitor Form
Click here to download form.
Supporting Child Life Programs
Many of the programs offered by the Child Life department are made possible through generous donations from individuals, businesses and organizations. To learn how to support any of the following programs, please call 847.723.PLAY and select option #2.
Special Events Program (All ages)
Special events are planned throughout the year to celebrate life, and include: birthday celebrations, Winter Celebration, Costume Day, Valentines Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, Child Life month (March), Spring Celebration, 4th of July, Labor Day and Easter Day. Each one-day event typically costs around $200.00, which purchases food for 50 inpatients and their families.
Treasure Box Program
Treasure boxes filled with toys and age appropriate gifts are located throughout the children's hospital. These toys and gifts are given as rewards to young patients, following an invasive procedure. Funding is needed to purchase small items such as stickers and toys.
Infants and toddlers make up a large part of Advocate Children's Hospital's inpatient population. These patients would benefit from a special supervised program designed to address their needs. Such a program would also provide additional support to parents. Monetary donations are needed to create the program and purchase resources.
Shadow BuddyTM Program
Shadow BuddiesTM have been designed to be both a "friend like me" and a teaching tool. These warm, huggable toys for boys and girls help take the place of friends who cannot be around when needed most. Shadow Buddies also help children and their family members cope with their condition. When seen first on their "Buddy", a scar or catheter has far less impact. This in turn makes it easier for health professionals to provide appropriate, successful treatment. To learn more about Shadow Buddies visit www.shadowbuddies.com.
This fund would be used to purchase a new toy for a child who is hospitalized on their birthday. Gifts, party supplies, and food.
Ice Cream Social events
Patients and families often need a little fun and excitement during their stay in the hospital. Ice Cream Socials can provide an outlet for patients and families to socialize with other families and enjoy a tasty treat.
Child Life Month
In celebration of the profession as child life specialists, the Child Life Council has dedicated March as the month to celebrate Child Life. During Child Life month our staff designs programming to celebrate our profession and provides special giveaways and events to inform patients, families, staff, and the community about the CL profession.
The Child Life staff uses a coping items to help reduce anxiety associated with treatment by distracting young patients during invasive medical procedures or times of stress. The cart contains an intriguing selection of play materials and unique toys with special designs.
3 Photography Program ($500 per session)
Photography program, enhance self-esteem and positive body image, despite illness or injury. Professional photographers engage patients in playful situations with the hopes of capturing an outer image that reflects the beauty of the inner self. This program helps children and adolescents face life's challenges and are sponsored at ALGCH through donated funds. This is a unique photography program and is offered several times yearly.
The funding would purchase the materials used to print and make the photos. The photographer donates their time and skills
Photo journaling/Therapeutic Scrap Booking Program
Images of the medical world, and a young patients place within this unfamiliar and frightening place, can often leave a child feeling anxious. By establishing a child's sense of control over their environment, can achieve mastery over a difficult situation. One way to allow children to process their health care experience is through taking photos and using personal journals and scrapbooks. A blank book can be filled with photos taken by the patient, artwork, and colorful stickers. Hand drawn designs can be added to create a personalized account of the hospital stay. Once feelings are brought to the surface, they are more easily dealt with, and emotional recovery can occur. Ideally we would like to contract monthly services.
Horticulture Therapy Program
Horticultural Therapy and Plant Therapy provides physical and psychological value for patients and serves to enhance the hospital environment. Each incorporates the use of plants, and other natural materials to help provide an outlet for healing. The healing elements of nature are evident as patient/children create seasonal projects utilizing natural materials. A trained staff Horticultural therapist would assist in facilitating a group activity in activity rooms on the pediatric and adolescent units of Advocate Children's Hospital. In addition they will provide horticultural activities at bedside for those patients who are unable to leave their room. Projects created would be taken home upon discharge and provide long lasting, and positive reminder of the hospital.
Open Heart Magic Program
Bedside magic is performs through volunteer magicians. Funded is needed for magic kits which are given patients weekly so each patient can learn the secret, lessons on magic.
Pediatric Bereavement Photography Program
Photographs taken of pediatric palliative care patients with family, friends and caregivers may serve as tangible mementos of a specific challenging time but more importantly as touchstones for feelings and memories pertaining to deep significant relationships and spiritual connections. The images become increasingly more valuable as an illness progresses and/or death occurs as patients' and survivors' typically have a need to hold on to bonds of love, some of which may flourish in the intimacy of last days or months. Patients in the NICU, PICU and General Peds. unit as well as outpatients will benefit from this part of the program. There is a successful history of this photography work for the last 7 years in conjunction with the prenatal bereavement program at LGH. Bereavement photography offered to pediatric populations may also provide benefits to grieving parents and families. It is so valuable to provide families with lasting memories through warm, documentary photographs of parents' time with their children in the hospital.
Snoezelen Relaxation Module for MRI
SNOEZELEN has been found to be effective for a variety of clients in a variety of situations. Currently, researchers are studying the efficacy of SNOEZELEN multi sensory environments in relieving stress and anxiety for patient's under-going treatments. This would be added to the MRI for all to enjoy.
On occasion, there are families with extreme financial hardships. Facing not only the burden of medical expenses, but also the related expenses that can occur, becomes overwhelming. A designated fund to offer families in need of transportation, parking, meals, telephone calling cards, childcare for siblings, etc. would be most appreciated. At times, these factors prevent a parent's ability to visit their child during hospitalization. Some financial assistance would encourage family involvement and promote well-being of all.
Massage Therapy Program For Parents
Parents of hospitalized children are under a tremendous amount of stress. Child life incorporates services that focused on the entire family's ability to cope. Since there is a direct correlation between a parent's comfort level and their child's anxiety, it is essential to support parents as much as possible. Stress factors associated with illness, combined with physical discomforts (often occurring from long periods of sitting, prolonged holding of small children in an attempt to comfort, and sleeping in less than ideal accommodations) often lead to heightened tensions.
Large scale items:
Child Life Specialists Positions
*Preoperative tours/Ambulatory Surgery
Preparation is an essential component when reducing the emotional traumas associated with hospilization. In those outpatient areas, invasive procedures comely occur. Fear can be significantly offset when a child understands what is to be expected, and is encouraged to be an active participant, rather than "passive victim". Through Child Life interventions, such as tours, medical play, and instructional picture books, young children are better able learn about their health care in an accurate and informed manner. They can then gain mastery in an otherwise overwhelming environment; becoming better equipped to cope with challenging experiences, even beyond discharge. Child Life Specialist also adds elements of fun through playful activities that create a positive impression of healthcare that can last a lifetime.
Closed Circuit Television
The closed-circuit television provides opportunities for participation from all hospitalized children including patients who are immobilized and/or on isolation. Playroom activities that could be broadcasted to the patient rooms include bingo, magic shows, music therapy and other special visitors we have participating in the playroom so that every patient has the ability to participate in the various activities. Through games, patients will be able to interact with the activity by winning prizes, calling in for BINGO, playing as a family, etc. It allows opportunities for building self-esteem, promotes family bonding and brings fun to the bedside by decreasing their feelings of isolation and instead giving them a sense of belonging to the hospital through their involvement. By allowing all patients and families to feel a part of the community, their health will also benefit. Closed-circuit television can also be used as an educational tool by providing patient education through medical play or even parenting education through perhaps an infant massage therapy session. Overall, the closed-circuit television can provide entertainment and education and enhance patient's self esteem. It provides a positive and entertaining experience for patients and families that will be memorable even after the patients leave the hospital.
Service Projects Ideas
A service project is a great way to get involved and make a child's or teenager's stay in the hospital more pleasant. The following is a list of service project ideas you may wish to consider. We also welcome your own creative ideas and group projects. Once you have decided on a service project, please call the Child Life office at 847.723.PLAY, *1, for approval of your idea.
For more information or for visitation or service project approval, please contact the Child Life office at 847.723.PLAY and select option *1.