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Child Life Services

Overview: Child Life Services at Aster CMI is one of the first of its kind initiatives at a hospital set up in India where comprehensive care in terms of physical and mental health is looked into. Child Life Services focuses on people’s mental health and their repercussions in a Hospital setting. The entire emphasis is on the Healthcare system so that there can be improvement in their patient-centered care keeping in mind the wellbeing of the caregivers too. Psychological interventions will make this possible at an enormous level.

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Who is a Child Life Specialist?

Child life specialists (CLS) help to reduce the stress and anxiety of children and families due to experiences related to healthcare and hospitalization. They promote effective coping through education, preparation, and play. They also understand the different development stages of children.

What interventions do CLS provide?

  • Preparation for tests, procedures, and surgery
  • Procedural support and distraction
  • Psychological support for family and siblings (even extended family)
  • Support through play
  • Emotional support
  • Bereavement, trauma, and grief support
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Art therapy and play therapy as a mode of communication and interaction
  • Psychological support and therapy depending on the case scenario.
  • Assessment and screening for psychological support.

What is the role of a child psychologist in paediatric support?

A child psychologist plays a crucial role in paediatric support by assessing and addressing the emotional and behavioral needs of children. They provide therapy and interventions to help children cope with various challenges, such as adjustment, stress, anxiety, depression, and developmental issues.

How does a child life specialist contribute to a child-friendly hospital environment?

Child life specialists create a child-friendly hospital environment by offering emotional support, play activities, and age-appropriate explanations of medical procedures. They help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of normalcy for not only the paediatric patients but also the family.

How do play therapy and psychosocial support help children cope with medical procedures?

Play therapy allows children to express their feelings and fears through play. It helps them understand and process their medical experiences, reducing anxiety and promoting emotional healing. These services aim to address the emotional, social, and behavioral aspects of a child's well-being.

What are developmentally appropriate activities in a hospital setting?

Developmentally appropriate activities in a hospital setting are tailored to a child's age and developmental stage. They may include games, crafts, storytelling, and educational activities that align with the child's abilities and interests.

How do child life specialists provide bereavement support to families?

Child life specialists offer bereavement support by facilitating discussions about death and grief in age-appropriate ways. They help children and families understand and navigate the grieving process, providing resources and emotional support.

Why Child Life Services?

In an era where various gadgets are used to distract and occupy children, Child Life Services at Aster CMI aims not only to ease the child’s stress quotient, but also add a human touch in interacting, understanding, and distracting the child where required. This ensures a normal hospital experience with reduced PTSD.

The rise in mental health awareness has driven healthcare industries to strive for a parallel balance between physical health and mental health well-being. Keeping this prerogative in mind, developing a Child Life Service at Aster CMI is an effective strategy for creating future generations to have a humane approach.

Child Life Services in an Indian setting has a deeper emotional Quotient. Family, society, and culture have a profound impact on child-rearing, and this requires sensitivity while attending to the needs of the families.

What are the Roles and responsibilities of a Child Life Specialist?

  • Child life specialists are responsible for providing mental health support to children and
  • Families by educating, preparing, and supporting them through their hospitalisation, difficult tests, and procedures related to chronic or acute illness.
  • Child life specialists also support the special needs of children and their families and devise plans that provide children and families with opportunities to engage in normal play and leisure pursuits that encourage expansion, progress, achievement, and fulfillment.
  • The specialists also provide emotional and psychological support to families to help them provide a more positive atmosphere for their child during their hospitalisation, whether long-term, frequent visits, or short duration.
  • There is also provision for psychological counseling, assessments, and psychotherapies for the children and their families in case of any requirement.
  • Communication with interdisciplinary team members
  • Supervision and training for child life students

How does psychological therapy benefit adolescents?

Psychological therapy can benefit adolescents by providing a safe and supportive environment to discuss and manage issues such as academic stress, peer pressure, identity development, and mental health concerns. It equips them with coping strategies and emotional skills. Therapy can also be individual, family, and/or group.

What is the importance of emotional support in pediatric care?

Emotional support in pediatric care is essential because it helps children and their families cope with the emotional impact of illness, hospitalization, or medical procedures. It provides a sense of comfort, security, and understanding during challenging times.

How can anxiety reduction techniques benefit pediatric patients?

Anxiety reduction techniques, such as relaxation exercises and cognitive-behavioral strategies, can help pediatric patients manage anxiety associated with medical procedures, hospital stays, and other stressful situations.

Is sibling support available for families going through medical challenges?

Yes, many healthcare institutions offer sibling support programs to help brothers and sisters of pediatric patients understand and cope with their sibling's illness or hospitalization. These programs can include counseling, educational activities, and emotional support.

What is therapeutic play, and how is it used in child psychology?

Therapeutic play involves structured activities designed to help children express their emotions, improve communication, and address psychological or emotional challenges. Child psychologists use therapeutic play as a tool for assessment and intervention. Distraction techniques are also used for support.


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