Play provides children with an outlet to explore feelings and concerns as well as fulfill the developmental need to play. While building trusting relationships, the child life specialist is able to assess and correct misconceptions or fantasies about the health care process.
Designed for children and their parents as they are admitted for surgery, medical testing or radiological procedures, this program helps familiarize children to the sights, sounds, people and sequence of events associated with each. Questions and concerns as well as coping techniques are also addressed.
Special Events and Entertainment
Social diversions reinforce normalcy with activities such as recognition of birthdays, holiday traditions, the celebration of finishing chemotherapy, and completion of treatment or going home parties. The weekly ice cream sundae event and special entertainers, such as visiting clowns from the “Clown Care Unit,” help make children's hospital stays more comforting.
A child's school experience is a very important part of his or her life. To help maintain connections with teachers and classmates and to keep pace with homework, child life staff can assist parents in acquiring tutoring services from their school system. If you would like more information or help setting up tutoring services while your child is hospitalized, speak with a child life specialist, your nurse or social worker.
Pet Visitor Program
The Pet Visitor Program uses trained volunteer handlers and their adult dogs. Accompanied by a child life specialist, the dogs make short, bedside visits to children and adolescents who would like the company of a furry friend. The goal of the Pet Visitor Program is to offer positive experiences to our pediatric patients; potentially brightening their day during a very tough time in their lives. All dogs undergo yearly veterinary examinations and behavioral screening tests, and before each visit all dogs are bathed and curbed.
Our furry friends visit children at UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center every Wednesday, 3 to 4 pm. If you would like more information about the Pet Visitor Program, please contact the Child Life Program at 774-443-2549.