At the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, our Certified Child Life Specialists engage with patients and their family members in many hospital settings including inpatient units, outpatient specialty clinics, the emergency department, surgery center, and the sedation unit. The main goal of a child life specialist is to make health care encounters a positive experience for patients and their family.
Services for Patients and Families
Our staff work with children from infancy through adolescence and their families. We provide developmentally appropriate opportunities to help children understand what is happening and express feelings about their healthcare experiences. Our child life specialists provide:
- Diagnosis education
- Preparation for medical procedures
- Procedural support
- Medical play opportunities
- Pre-surgery hospital tours
- Therapeutic interventions
- Bereavement support and legacy building
Parents and caregivers are the best source of support and comfort for their child. Our child life specialists are able to provide support for family members by:
- Helping parents/caregivers understand their child’s behavior in the healthcare setting
- Helping parents/caregivers learn how to support their child during procedures
- Helping support siblings to understand and cope with illness and the effect it can have on their family
Our Child Family Life Department is comprised of Certified Child Life Specialists and Child Life Associates.
- Certified Child Life Specialists have a graduate or undergraduate degree in Child Life or a related discipline. In addition, each specialist holds a national professional certification through the Association of Child Life Professionals.
- Child Life Associates have a two or four year degree in a child development or a related degree. They provide patients with opportunities for play to support growth and development at bedside, unit playrooms, or the Kyle Rudolph End Zone.