Child Life Program
Child life services are a vital part of a child’s medical treatment at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Our child life specialists are specially trained and educated health care professionals who help children of all ages — from preemies to young adults — cope with medical procedures and hospital stays. Child life specialists make a real difference for children and families by easing stress and anxiety and providing support through the challenges of illness, hospitalization, injury or disability.
What do child life specialists do?
Child life specialists care for a child’s emotional health. They can:
- Offer age-appropriate play opportunities that help children cope and express feelings
- Provide support for siblings visiting a loved one in the hospital
- Teach children about what to expect during a procedure or treatment
- Educate families and medical staff about a child’s particular needs
- Encourage normal family activities, such as play, school, birthdays and holidays
Where you'll find child life specialists
You’ll find our child life specialists working with infants, children, teens and families throughout our inpatient and outpatient units, including:
- Pediatric intensive care unit
- Pediatric cardiac intensive care unit
- Pediatric progressive care unit
- Pediatric acute care units
- Neonatal intensive care unit
- Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center
- DanceBlue Hematology Oncology Clinic
- Children’s sedation and procedure unit (CSPU)
Child life services we provide
Preparing for procedures
We help children before, during and after medical procedures. We use age-appropriate techniques to help your child understand procedures and process any fears and anxiety. We can also accompany children to their procedures to help them use coping skills to make the procedure easier. Find out more about how children and families can prepare for procedures.
Using medical play
Through play, children can explore the hospital, learn about their medical care and the hospital experience, and process their emotions. They can also participate in normal childhood activities. Learn more about how we use play to help children.
Getting ready for your child’s hospital stay
We can help you and your child prepare for and manage a hospital stay, whether you have a preemie in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or a school-age child or young adult in the hospital. Find out more about how we can help you and your family get ready for a hospital stay.