Child Life

Whether in the hospital, in the emergency room or in a clinic, your child has basic needs that must be met, and these needs may be magnified by illness, injury or loss of the familiar routines of life.

To help support their special psychosocial and educational needs, the UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center has certified child life specialists to help them and you cope with a potentially stressful health care experience.

What We Do

  • Create a child-friendly, family-centered environment
  • Provide recreational, therapeutic and medical play opportunities
  • Work with you and your child to create a plan of care to best support their identified needs
  • Lessen anxiety and stress through emotional support, information sharing and coping interventions, such as distraction and imagery
  • Promote growth and development through normalization of the medical setting
  • Encourage and enable your involvement in the care process

Child Life Services

Play Opportunities

Play provides your child an outlet to explore feelings and concerns as well as fulfill the developmental need to play. While building trusting relationships, the child life specialist is able to assess and correct misconceptions or fantasies about the health care process.

Preprocedure Preparation

This program helps familiarize your child to the sights, sounds, people and sequence of events during procedures. Questions and concerns as well as coping techniques are also addressed.

Special Events and Entertainment

Special events and entertainment reinforce normalcy with activities such as recognition of birthdays, holiday traditions, the celebration of finishing chemotherapy, and completion of treatment or going home parties. The weekly ice cream sundae event and special entertainers, such as visiting clowns from the “Clown Care Unit,” help make your child’s hospital stay more comforting.

Tutoring Program

To help maintain connections with teachers and classmates and to keep pace with homework, child life staff can assist you in acquiring tutoring services for school work.

Pet Therapy Program
Specially trained, certified dogs make short, bedside visits to our patients who would like the company of a furry friend.

Pet Therapy Program

The Pet Visitor Program uses trained volunteer handlers and their adult dogs. Accompanied by a child life specialist, dogs make short, bedside visits to patients who would like the company of a furry friend.

Pet visits brighten the day of both patients and staff. All dogs undergo yearly veterinary examinations and behavioral screening tests, and before each visit all dogs are bathed and curbed.

You Can Support Pediatric Patients Too

Thanks to our Child Life team, patients and their families enjoy toys, games and activities in our playroom, teen room, waiting areas and at patients' bedsides. Gifts go a long way toward making the hospital a less threatening place and brightening a child's stay. Your gift of new toys, stuffed animals, arts and crafts kits, or financial donations is greatly appreciated and makes a big difference in a child's hospital stay.

Wish List, Projects and Guidelines

Donate to the Child Life Fund.

Helping Children Cope with Health Care Experiences

 

Appointments: 855-UMASS-MD

Locations:

Children's Medical Center
University Campus, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Memorial Campus, 119 Belmont Street, Worcester, MA 01605

Children's Hospital Association 


The National Children's Study

Contact Child Life:

Call: 774-443-2549
Email: childlife@umassmemorial.org
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm

Connect with Child Life on facebook.