Child Life Services

Helping Children Cope with Hospitalization

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center, child life specialists provide support to children and teens to help them prepare for their medical experience. Services include health education, therapeutic play, developmental activities and emotional support to minimize any psychological trauma, stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization. In turn, children and teens are better able to cope with and master their healthcare experience.

Our Primary Goals

An assessment of a child's developmental level, response to separation, coping style, temperament and available family support leads to therapeutic interventions that seek to achieve the following five primary goals:

  • Minimize fear and stress experienced by children, teens and their families regarding their hospital experiences
  • Support the patient's emotional, social and cognitive growth in the context of his or her family, culture and developmental stage
  • Enhance the patient's understanding of medical procedures and diagnoses using age-appropriate techniques
  • Support patients and families to continue everyday living experiences as much as possible
  • Provide age-appropriate and safe play environments

Services

Interventions are determined on an individual basis and may include a variety of services, such as:

  • Preparing children for medical procedures or treatment using language that children understand
  • Introducing coping strategies to help reduce anxiety, manage pain and enhance cooperation with the health care team
  • Providing support and distraction during medical procedures
  • Offering opportunities for play and expressive activities, encouraging normal development and a sense of fun in spite of challenging circumstances
  • Promoting family-centered care by providing information, advocacy and support to families of pediatric patients
  • Supporting families confronting grief and bereavement issues

Help for Children With Many Conditions

Certified child life specialists provide services primarily to children on the General Pediatric Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Children who have any of the following high-risk criteria on admission, or at any time during the hospital stay, should be referred to the child life specialist for further evaluation:

  • History of multiple hospitalizations
  • Assistance with pain management
  • Anticipated surgical/invasive procedure
  • Patient or family experiencing grief or related issues
  • Psychological trauma, stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization


Toy Donations for Hospitalized Children

Child Life Services is grateful to the many community members, service groups and businesses who generously donate supplies to our pediatric patients. Donations help to keep our activity rooms stocked and make holidays, birthdays and other special celebrations possible.Donated decorations add a cheerful touch to activity rooms and patient care areas. If you are interested in donating items, please view our recommended safety guidelines and wish list .


For More Information

For more information on Child Life Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, please contact:

Child Life Services
Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
8700 Beverly Blvd., Room 4247 North Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 1-800-CEDARS-1 (233-2771)
Fax: 310-423-4131
Email: sandra.sternberg@cshs.org
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