Child Life Program

Letting Kids Be Kids


A hospital stay can be an intimidating experience for children, teens, and their families. At K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital, the Child Life team creates a fun and positive environment that supports families, helps to alleviate the stress associated with illness, and ultimately allows kids to be kids.

Led by trained pediatric experts, the Child Life Program uses age appropriate play, education, and entertainment to create a light-hearted atmosphere that supports the emotional well-being of young patients and their families. The Child Life Program has a family centered model of care that focuses on:

•  Creating an emotionally uplifting environment
•  Teaching various coping strategies to ease anxiety
•  Assisting with non-medical needs and providing psychosocial and educational support
•  Providing support for grief and bereavement issues

KHOV Photos April May 2013 (4) cropped
In addition, Child Life collaborates with the health care team to increase the understanding of the hospital experience for our pediatric patients and their families by:

•  Communicating detailed medical information to children in an age appropriate manner
•  Conducting therapeutic medical play by utilizing special tools, stuffed animals, and medical equipment
•  Offering support, distraction, and relaxation during medical procedures
•  Conducting pre-admission and pre-operation tours, effective in reducing a child’s anxiety

Whether its bedside, in the playrooms or in the teen lounge, numerous activities are offered throughou the day to provide hours of distraction for children and their families to help normalize the hospital experience. Special activities include:

•  Art Therapy: Drawing, painting, storytelling or writing – our art therapists help create a fun and engaging hospital experience for our patients, especially for children having difficulty putting their feelings into words.

•  Pet Therapy: Our specially-trained pet therapy dogs bring unconditional love and smiles to children, greatly contributing to a child’s overall social, physical, and emotional development.

•  Music Therapy: Music affects the mental, physical, and emotional states, making it a valuable and effective tool in the healing process. Musicians make rounds to provide everything from soothing lullabies to interactive musical games.

•  Special Events: Whether it’s making your own ice cream sundae, holiday parties, or special visits from Doctor Bernard and the Pawsitive Action Team, and other outside community groups, numerous events are held throughout the year to help bring smiles to our pediatric patients.

To schedule a tour or learn more about the Child Life Program, call 732.776.2541.

Sara Auerbach, BA, CCLS, CPMT
Certified Child Life Specialist

April Slowenski, BS, MEd, CCLS, CPMT
Certified Child Life Specialist
Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist

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