Easing Hospital Anxiety: How Child Life Specialists Can Help

Contact Information:

Natifia Gaines

(718) 206-6020

May 17, 2010 (Jamaica, NY)–The Department of Pediatrics at Jamaica Hospital understands the anxiety and fear children experience while in the hospital. Whether visiting the emergency room with a broken leg or being admitted for a severe asthma attack, the hospital can be a frightening place.

To help children better cope with their health conditions and hospitalizations, Jamaica Hospital‰Ûªs Child Life Specialists have become an integral part of pediatric patient care.

Child life specialists are trained professionals, with experience in child development and family systems. Through play, preparation, education, and self-expression, child life specialists provide emotional support and assistance to help children who:

  • Need preparation for an invasive procedure, such as shoots and IV
  • Are crying, fighting, or hiding to avoid having an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI taken
  • Have expressed their fears to you or our staff
  • Are having difficulty taking their medications
  • Are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness
  • Are going to be admitted for injuries from a traumatic situation, such as a fire or car accident
  • Have been abused

In addition, child life specialists provide emotional support to parents, siblings, and other family members, as well as educate caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.

‰ÛÏJamaica Hospital‰Ûªs team of child life specialists added comfort and joy to our hospital stay,‰Û said Odalis Lugo, whose son was admitted to the hospital for asthma. ‰ÛÏThey were able to take my son‰Ûªs mind off of how sick he was, and they did it in a friendly and helpful manner.‰Û

‰ÛÏHaving a child life specialist in a hospital is comforting and reassuring. We are committed to improving the wellbeing of the hospital‰Ûªs smallest patients and our efforts help children and parents remain at ease in a fast pace and unknown environment,‰Û added Sarah Wassenbergh, Certified Child Life Specialist at Jamaica Hospital.

Recently, Jamaica Hospital won a grant to further support its child life services. The grant will enable the unit to hire a full-time child life specialist for its pediatric playroom and emergency room. It will also ensure that a child life specialist is available on the weekends as well. The hospital currently boasts three child life specialists, who primarily work on weekdays, in the pediatric playroom.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 431-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center‰Ûªs mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.


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