Child Life Program Services
- Non-medical preparation and distraction for tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures.
- Therapeutic medical play using special dolls, stuffed animals and medical equipment.
- Activities to continue normal growth and development in patient rooms and/or playroom.
- Volunteer supervised playroom with arts supplies, board games, video games, computers.
- Studio G Artist in Residence Program with 10 different artists visiting twice a month.
- Coordination of special events, birthdays, milestones, and holiday celebrations.
- Animal Assisted Activities/Therapy; Trained dogs will visit medically cleared children.
- HoyaDreams Dream Days and Hospital Visits with Georgetown University Athletes.
- Starlight Children's Foundation laptops and FunCenters with GameCube/Nintendo Wii.
- Sibling support and education during diagnosis, treatment and hospital visits.
- Assist in tutoring referrals to Education Inc. and School Re-Entry with social workers.
- Coordinate volunteers to help provide play at bedside and in playroom for all patients.
- Disney FunFlicks/Lollipop Theater Network Movie Screenings.
- Support for grief and bereavement issues with healthcare team.
To be effectively prepared for a medical procedure, children need to know what to expect. The role of the medical team and parents is to be honest, using age appropriate language every step of way during their hospital stay.
To help ease anxiety, fear and stress that are sometimes related to a hospital admission, opportunities for hands-on interaction with medical equipment and supplies help children understand why they are here. Children can learn about the hospital environment and procedures by playing with "pretend" or actual medical equipment. It allows children to act out their feelings and concerns.
Using syringes filled with water to practice target shooting or using spongy toothbrushes to paint a beautiful picture are some ways we encourage our children to become familiar with medical equipment. Distraction toys such as glitter wands, reading books, guided imagery, breathing techniques are some of the many coping strategies we use during medical procedures. By gaining knowledge and information through rehearsed coping skills, a child is encouraged to express their feelings while helping them gain a sense of control.
A sibling of a hospitalized child experiences the same emotions and concerns as their hospitalized sister or brother. Many times they feel neglected and alienated when all of the family attention is on the "sick" child. Sometimes they even think it is their fault for their sister or brother being hospitalized. As long as the patient is stable, siblings are encouraged to visit. Please contact Linda Kim, Certified Child Life Specialist at 202-444-3037 and schedule Monday through Friday between the hours of 10am and 4pm to schedule a tour.
Programs and Activities
When a child is unable to come to the various activities, due to isolation precautions or activity restrictions, the Child Life Specialist will provide bedside recreational and therapeutic interventions. Volunteers are also available every day of the week from 9 am to 9 pm to spend time at the bedside.
Art, recreational activities, special community group presentations and multi-cultural holiday and seasonal celebrations are celebrated. The Child Life Playroom provides toys, board games, video games, books, computers for your child. No medical procedures are allowed in Child Life areas as they are places where patients are free from medical intrusion. However, medical staff is always welcome and encouraged to visit their patients while they play.
The HoyaDreams program is a unique partnership with the Georgetown University Department of Athletics. The goal of the HoyaDreams program is to encourage Georgetown student-athletes to reach out to chronically ill children and their families and make a difference in their lives. The Hoya Athletes will spend time with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's pediatric inpatients, and spend time bringing them to Georgetown athletic games. For the current inpatients, these visits will help them feel special and hopefully motivate them to work towards the goal of getting well and out of the hospital. For the patients who have finished their treatment, it will serve as a reward for their taxing and difficult medical treatment.
Animal Assisted Therapy Program
Scientific research has shown that a patient's interaction with an animal can provide positive physical and emotional benefits.
Volunteer therapy dogs and handlers, trained and certified through The Delta Society and National Capital Therapy Dogs visit our patients two to three times a month. Individual bedside visits and group sessions are done.
For more information about the Animal Assisted Therapy Program, please contact Linda Kim, Certified Child Life Specialist at 202-444-3037.