For a child, the excessive anxiety and stress related to illness, separation from family during hospitalization, and medical encounters can be emotionally damaging and interfere with the child's response to medical treatment and care. Major interruptions in a child's life can invite dependency and erode self-esteem and may jeopardize the child's growth and development.
Child Life Program Goals
Children and adolescents are human beings with feelings, rights and special needs. We treat the total child and family, while respecting each as an individual. Our program goals include:
- Minimizing stress to promote optimal response to medical treatment and care.
- Promoting a sense of mastery and understanding of medical experiences.
- Providing opportunities for building independent behavior and retaining self-esteem.
- Providing for continuation of normal daily activities so as not to interfere with appropriate growth and development.
- Offering therapeutic activities and opportunities for creativity and self-expression.
- Providing supportive relationships for patients and families.
- Facilitating communication between medical personnel, the patient and the family.
Services Provided by Child Life Staff
The Child Life program provides services to all pediatric patients and their family members throughout the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital as well as outpatients seen in the pediatric specialty clinic. A non-threatening playroom environment enables children to continue normal social interactions and participate in activities designed to encourage developmentally appropriate play and expression of feelings.
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
Child Life’s focus includes time spent:
- Responding to physical needs
- Overcoming fear of separation
- Encouraging normal development through play
Siblings and adult caregivers with:
Child Life provides them with:
- Education on how to continue to nuture and play with the child throughout their illness
- Peer support groups
- Grief and bereavement support
- Materials for diversion and comfort
School-age and adolescent patients
Will receive a wide variety of services to meet their unique needs including:
- Preparing for, and support during, medical procedures
- Medical play
- Group and one-on-one activities including art, crafts, cooking, and games
- Celebrations of important life events
- Gymnasium and game room activities
- Social support
- Returning to school programs
Child Life Videos
From the kids at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to all of our friends and supporters: Thank you.
Related Health Topics
Curriculum will include cancer education, expression of feelings, identifying stress and coping techniques with hope for the future. Activities and craft supplies will be mailed to each kid prior to the first session. There is no charge for these support groups.
Ages 5 to 11
School ages 5 to 11 whose parent is a Cancer Center patient and has recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Four weeks November 1 - 29, 2023 via zoom, Wednesdays 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Ages 12 to 18
Teens ages 12 to 18 whose parent is a Cancer Center patient and has recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Four weeks November 1 - 29, 2023 16 via zoom, Wednesdays 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.