Coming to the hospital after a traumatic event or with a new illness can be scary for a child. Children at different ages and developmental levels experience and respond to hospitalization in unique ways. Child life specialists provide evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions such as preparation for surgeries or procedures, education about new diagnoses, and therapeutic play opportunities in order to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain in the hospital. Child Life specialists are required to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and are certified under the Association of Child Life Professionals. Specifically in the Emergency Department at ACH, Child Life specialists provide preparation, support, and distraction during traumas, sutures, bier blocks, IV starts, and many other procedures. They work with the patient and family to develop an individualized coping plan in order to reduce fear and anxiety during procedures by offering distraction through play or calming techniques. When children die in the ED or hospital, Child Life specialists assist siblings or other children to understand the death in a developmentally appropriate explanation. Child Life specialists provide legacy items such as hand/foot molds and prints and provide support to the families. Child Life is available from 7:00am until midnight every day of the week.
Tacy Hale and Breanne Eagan are the primary Child Life Specialists in the Emergency Department.