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All Things Mikita: Child Life at Children's Mercy

#CMHmoms blogger Mikita shares inside look at Child Life programs

From All Things Mikita:

I recently had a chance to talk with the director of the Child Life Department at Children's Mercy. I was able to learn about all of the ways Child Life specialists help ease the fear and anxiety of the kids. They do everything from therapeutic play, preparation and support during procedures, bereavement support to education for caregivers, staff and the public.

One of the programs that really struck a chord with me is the sibling support program. When a child is sick and diagnosed with a disease, the whole family is affected. It was amazing to hear that Children's Mercy recognized that and did something about it. I am so fortunate to have healthy children and thought that if one of my children got sick, the others would be affected greatly. There are special evening programs just for children who have sibling in the ICN and PICU as well as an activities assistant who is just there for the siblings.

Along with making sure the patients have everything needed, the Child Life Department coordinates a wealth of other programs that mean so much to families. The Facility Dog Program, where Hunter & Hope make visits, creation station, kids in the kitchen and art workshops are some of them.

They also plan the special events with Kansas City's professional athletes, schedule volunteer groups, plan evening programs and set up a gift shop during Christmas where parents can shop for gifts.

I was amazed at all of the work that the Child Life specialists do. Having a sick child is every parent’s worst nightmare, but knowing that there is a place like Children's Mercy to take them to is extremely reassuring.

Learn more about Child Life or volunteering at Children's Mercy.