Central DuPage Hospital - Medical Services - Pediatrics - Support Services - Child Life
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Child Life

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Support Services: Child Life
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Child Life

The challenges of illness and hospitalization can overwhelm both the child and his or her family. The child life specialists at Central DuPage Hospital are trained to support the psychosocial needs of sick children and their families through play therapy, guidance, education and self-expression activities.

The child life playroom is located on the 1st floor within the pediatric inpatient unit. This brightly decorated room is a place for families to relax and enjoy time together playing, reading and creating - or just being together outside of their hospital room.  Children are encouraged to freely choose their own mode of fun.  The playroom is a "medically-free zone" - no medical procedures are performed within this area.

Supporting the "Whole" Family

Child life specialists focus on the emotional needs of children. They work in partnership with other members of the child's care team and with parents to:

  • Relieve a child's fear and anxiety through therapeutic play
  • Prepare a child for medical tests, surgery and other medical procedures
  • Engage the patient in relaxation and pain management skills
  • Encourage the patient to express his/her feelings through normal play
  • Address the needs of siblings affected by a child's illness/hospitalization
  • Provide education and resources to parents and members of the care team

Fun, Educational and Healing Programs

Several special programs coordinated by child life specialists at CDH aid them in their efforts to reduce the negative impact of illness and hospitalization on a child and to empower the patient to heal more quickly:

  • Beads of Courage, Inc.  -  A national program "designed to support and strengthen the protective resources in children coping with cancer (hematology/oncology)." Children string colorful beads -  each one representing a treatment milestone - as markers on their treatment path.
  • Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation  - An organization "dedicated to providing comfort and distraction from painful procedures to children who have been diagnosed with cancer, by providing gifts from a treasure chest."
  • Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy  -  A group that brings trained, registered therapy dogs to visit with inpatients each Thursday.  
  • Child Life Specialists support families with a critically ill newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by coordinating several programs and activites: 
    • They supervise a dedicated group of volunteers who "cuddle" babies in the neonatal intensive care unit when mom and dad need a break.
    • They coordinate a "scrapbooking" program for the parents. 
    • They help siblings learn more about the NICU through a book bag of activities.
  • They organize activities such as holiday and event parties and visits from Santa and local celebrities.

Child Life Wish List

You can help children treated and hospitalized at Central DuPage Hospital by donating books, toys, games or crafts. View Child Life Wish List.

The Child Life Team

Child life specialists are members of an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and social workers in the inpatient units, emergency room and outpatient treatment areas. Child life specialists at CDH have a bachelor's or master's degree with an emphasis on human growth and development, education, psychology or a related field. To reach a child life specialist, please call 630.933.7529.  TTY for the hearing impaired 630.933.4833.

Child Life Internships

CDH offers child life internships in the spring and fall semesters. For more information, please see the following attachments: