Caring for children in a medical setting requires more than excellent clinical knowledge. It takes attention, patience and keen understanding of children’s behavior and mentality to allow for a positive experience. That’s the role of Child Life Specialists at Sidra, a unique offering helping introduce novel improvements in holistic care.
Within the Child Life Services department, we will have approximately thirty Child Life Specialists/Hospital Play Specialists who will work with the rest of the medical team to provide comprehensive patient and family-centered care.
The program will focus on the wellbeing of children, while promoting their optimal development and minimizing the adverse effects of their medical trauma. Child Life Specialists will be integral members of our interdisciplinary teams and will work collaboratively to ensure that the stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization is lessened.
Our Child Life Specialists will provide developmental, psychosocial and emotional support to children and families within our hospital and clinics. They will utilize their knowledge of child development (neonate to adolescent) and family-centered care to design and implement interventions to assist the child and the family coping with hospitalization, illness, and related treatments.
These interventions include:
• Developmentally-Appropriate preparation and education
• Therapeutic, expressive, and normalizing play experiences
• Helping a child get through an MRI scan and other procedures with the use of preparation and distraction techniques
• Celebrating a child’s birthday while they are admitted on an inpatient unit
• Helping siblings cope with the illness of their brother or sister
The interventions will be integrated throughout all phases of hospitalization and areas in which children are treated. It takes more than medicine to help kids get better and feel better and Child Life Specialists are one example of how Sidra will take care of the whole child and help lead positive change in health care in Qatar and beyond.