Child life services

Erin R. Stucky, Jerrold M. Eichner, Sanford M. Melzer, Jack M. Percelay, Anthony L. Pearson-Shaver, Ted D. Sigrest, Susan Dull, Mary T. Perkins, Jerriann M. Wilson, Timothy E. Corden, Brad W. Warner, Christina Brown, S. Niccole Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Child life programs have become standard in most large pediatric centers and even on some smaller pediatric inpatient units to address the psychosocial concerns that accompany hospitalization and other health care experiences. The child life specialist focuses on the strengths and sense of well-being of children while promoting their optimal development and minimizing the adverse effects of children's experiences in health care or other potentially stressful settings. Using play and psychological preparation as primary tools, child life interventions facilitate coping and adjustment at times and under circumstances that might prove overwhelming otherwise. Play and age-appropriate communication may be used to (1) promote optimal development, (2) present information, (3) plan and rehearse useful coping strategies for medical events or procedures, (4) work through feelings about past or impending experiences, and (5) establish therapeutic relationships with children and parents to support family involvement in each child's care, with continuity across the care continuum. The benefits of this collaborative work with the family and health care team are not limited to the health care setting; it may also optimize reintegration into schools and the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1757-1763
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Child life
  • Family-centered care
  • Medical home
  • Play
  • Preparation
  • Psychological preparation


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