The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Patient and Family Guide to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia — School, Play and Support

Elizabeth Massas, Child LIfe Specialist: I'm a Child Life Specialist. And our goal in Child Life is to help children of all ages to understand and cope with the hospital experience. It's normal for kids to react to illness, separation from family and friends, and medical procedures with fear and worry. We use play and other activities, both as a way to let kids be kids, and to give them a channel for expressing their feelings. We also use age-appropriate ways to prepare children and teens for new experiences like surgery and to help them learn ways to manage pain or anxiety. If you have any concerns about your child's pain or need more information about care, please let your nurse know.

The Child Life Department also includes teachers to help school-age kids keep up with their classes as well as art therapy and music therapy programs to promote creative expression. You may see volunteers throughout the hospital involved in different activities like helping the staff or spending time with your child. You'll know them by the blue vests they wear. Some of our most loved volunteers are dogs, specially trained in pet therapy. For more details on child life matters, see your handbook, or for a truly expert opinion, consult a child near you.