Clinical Spotlight: Our Child Life Program

The Child Life program at HJD is composed of three full- time certified child life specialists: Tristan Buono, Stephanie Newman, and Lauren Maxwell. The program serves pediatric patients and their family members by helping babies, children and teens cope with medical illness, medical exams, procedures and hospital stays. If a pediatric patient is afraid or anxious at any point during their visit to HJD a child life specialist can accompany the child to their exam or procedure, provide them with developmentally appropriate education about the procedure and provide emotional support for the patient and their family members.

In addition, Child Life runs therapeutic art and play groups in the Center for Children waiting area and on the 8 North Elly Hammerman Pediatric Inpatient Unit and, once a month, also organizes special events and celebrations. The Child Life program also services the newly reopened Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit. In the fall, a “Back to School” party was held in the Center for Children, where children participated in fun art activities, had healthy snacks and were able to socialize with their peers.

These therapeutic groups and special events are intended to normalize the experience and create more positive associations around the medical visit. In addition, children who are medically compromised often miss out on extracurricular activities due to their condition. Child Life activities and events create new opportunities for fun and playtime that patients might not have otherwise. Finally, the challenges of orthopaedic injuries or conditions can be an isolating and emotional experience for a child. The program offers an outlet for self-expression and a safe, comfortable place where these patients can form friendships and gain support by meeting other children who face similar challenges.

For more information about our Child Life program contact us at 212.598.6444 or 212.598.6461.