The Value of Child Life

Coping with illness, injury and treatment is often challenging and stressful for children, adolescents and their families. Certified Child Life Specialists® provide therapeutic play, preparation for procedure, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety, pain, and suffering for both patients and their families. Studies show these child life services result in cost savings including reduced length of stay, decreased sedation needs and improved family satisfaction and ratings of overall experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the important role of the Certified Child Life Specialist and U.S. News & World Report has recognized that expertise in child life is a vital variable in the success of pediatric care and is counted as a key quality indicator in hospital rankings.

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Who are Certified Child Life Specialists?

Child Life Specialists® provide evidence-based, developmentally- and psychologically-appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety and pain for children, adolescents and families.

Certified Child Life Specialists work in partnership with families, interdisciplinary healthcare teams and community professionals within the evolving healthcare system to meet the psychosocial, emotional and developmental needs of children and adolescents.

Certified Child Life Specialists are educated and trained in the developmental and psychological impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve outcomes, patient and family satisfaction, and ratings of their overall healthcare experience.

Certification by the Association of Child Life Professionals helps ensure a high level of competency in child life specialists to provide essential patient- and family-centered care.

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Leading Surveys on Child Life

Child life services make a difference in pediatric care. Research and practice have demonstrated that child life services, such as play and preparation, help to decrease costs (i.e., reducing the length of stay and decreasing the need for analgesics).

Source: Wolfer J, Gaynard L, Goldberger J, Laidley LN, Thompson R. An experimental evaluation of a model child life program. Child Health Care. 1988;16:244–254

Research suggests child life specialists have a quantifiably positive impact on the care of children in imaging departments. Measures of parent satisfaction, staff satisfaction, child satisfaction, child pain, and child distress are shown to be positively impacted.

Source: Tyson ME, Bohl DD, Blickman JG. (2014) A randomized controlled trial: child life services in pediatric imaging. Pediatri Radiol. Vol 44 (11):1426-32.

"That's Child Life"

Why child life?

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Services

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Certified Child Life Specialists are educated and trained in the developmental and psychological impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve health outcomes, patient and family satisfaction and ratings of overall healthcare experience.

Certified Child Life Specialists® provide evidence-based, developmentally- and psychologically-appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety, pain, and suffering for children, adolescents and their families.

Child Life in the News

  • G Is For Grant Funding

    Jan 05, 2017
    Many child life programs suffer from a significant imbalance between great projects and the money needed to fund them. Whether looking to launch a new child life program, increase current staffing, make over a playroom, or launch a thousand other worthy projects, advocating for the value of the undertaking and demonstrating its worth through evidence-based practice and other means is often much easier than coming up with the funds to make it happen.
    Full Story
  • Introducing Child Life Services To A Radiation Oncology Department

    Jan 05, 2017
    Radiation therapy can be a strange and scary experience for pediatric patients and their families. These adult-driven clinics often lack the child life services imperative to children’s mastery of their own treatment, resulting in frequent use of sedation.
    Full Story

American Academy of Pediatrics 2014 policy statement on child life:

“Child life services should be delivered as part of an integrated patient- and family-centered model of care and included as a quality indicator in the delivery of services for children and families in healthcare settings.”