For a child and family, being in the hospital can be a frightening experience. The child life specialists at the Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah are experts who understand the impact that illness and hospitalization can have on a child’s growth and development. They also understand that a childhood illness or injury impacts the entire family.
The child life team works alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, and other members of the healthcare team to ensure that each child’s emotional, developmental, and cultural needs are address. They create interventions and therapeutic play opportunities to promote healing, growth, and coping.
Playroom: A Place for Fun and Healing
Children learn about and experience the world around them through play. Even in the hospital, play is vital. In fact, it's the core of our child life program. Through play, children can explore the hospital and their medical experience, release their fears and emotions, and participate in the normal activities that they would do at home.
The Memorial Health Willett Children’s Hospital has two playrooms and a teen room for children admitted to the hospital. These inpatient playrooms feature a variety of activities and toys. They are a safe place, free of medical encounters, where children can escape and have fun. The playrooms are supervised by members of our child life team and volunteers. Toys, books, and games are available for siblings and patients to check out and take back to their hospital rooms.
The child life team at the Memorial Health Willett Children's Hospital works with other organizations to provide pet therapy, art activities, cooking activities, live music, and a variety of other special activities for children and families.
Special Help for Siblings
Siblings may feel left out or frightened when a brother or sister is admitted to the hospital. Suddenly, all of the attention and concern focuses on the sick child, which can be difficult for siblings to understand. Healthy siblings may show signs of distress if they are separated from their parents while the parents care for the sick child. Here are some helpful ways to promote sibling involvement:
- Provide developmentally appropriate explanations to the sibling about their brother or sister
- Display and discuss feelings about the sick brother or sister when siblings are present
- Encourage communication between siblings via phone, email, or letters
- Update family members and school personnel so that they may provide extra sibling support
- Allow siblings to take an active role in the sick child's care when possible
- Enable sibling visitation when possible
- Reduce separation between caregiver and sibling
- As much as possible, maintain a daily schedule and routine for the sibling