Child Life Specialists
UCLA Chase Child Life Specialists are part of an interdisciplinary, family-centered model of care, collaborating with the family, physicians and other members of the health care team to develop a plan of care. Child Life Specialists address the social, emotional and developmental needs of hospitalized children by communicating age-specific information, identifying potential stressors and practicing coping strategies. Child Life Specialists help parents maintain their caregiving roles by promoting parent-child play sessions and sharing strategies for comforting their children during medical procedures.
Services provided by UCLA Chase Child Life include:
- Pre-hospitalization visits for children and their families
- Developmental preparation for medical procedures, support during procedures and post-procedural medical play
- Therapeutic intervention including music therapy and medical play
- Supervision of playroom and teen lounge
- Family Resource Room and peer support programs
- Sibling support
- Comfort positioning and relaxation activities
- Access to interactive gaming resources and laptop computers
- Special events that entertain and engage children and families
- Assistance in transitioning from hospital to home and/or school following an illness
- Support during times of loss
Community volunteers also help coordinate special events, arts and crafts or other projects. They are available to play a video game, read a story or simply sit at a child’s bedside to provide comfort and companionship. To learn more, visit uclahealth.org/childlife or call (310) 267-9440.
The Comfort Corner, located on the third floor, serves as a private place to meet with your child’s doctors and other members of your child’s care team outside of your child’s hospital room.
Family resource room
Our family resource room is available for caregivers to network with other parents, engage in support groups or participate in educational or creative arts seminars. Caregivers may use this room to access computer services, watch television, participate in educational and recreational activities, connect with families with similar challenges and have light refreshments and quiet time. A volunteer librarian is available to share resources on child development, medical conditions, community resources and opportunities to connect with families with similar challenges. The family resource room is located on the fifth floor, room 5236B, and has flexible hours. Services provided in the family resource room include:
- Printing, faxing and copying
- Light refreshments for pediatric families
- Knitting classes
- Scrapbooking classes
Heart Touch Project
The purpose of the Heart Touch Project is to provide gentle touch and pediatric massage services to children hospitalized at UCLA who meet appropriate medical criteria and who desire this treatment. Studies show that providing regular compassionate touch services to hospitalized infants, children, adolescents and young adults can provide numerous benefits to the patient. To learn more, talk to your nurse.
Massage therapy for relaxation and stress reduction is available for patients and families. For more information, talk to your nurse, visit uclahealth.org/rehab/massage-therapy or call (310) 206-3055.
Music therapists help patients feel better by allowing them to creatively express their feelings and ideas. Your child doesn’t have to sing or play an instrument to see a music therapist. They can sing or play familiar songs, record music or relax and listen to music. To learn more, call (310) 267-9440.
Paula’s PetPal Place
Paula’s PetPal Place is a service that allows patients to unite with their pets during hospitalization at UCLA. To learn more, call (310) 267-8184.
Pediatric Pain & Palliative Care Program
The UCLA Pediatric Pain & Palliative Care Program is a special consultation service designed to alleviate pain and suffering and increase well-being for children with serious and life-threatening illnesses. This team is directed by a child psychologist and also includes a physician pediatric pain specialist, pediatric nurse practitioner, social worker, chaplain and Child Life Specialist. This consultation service can be requested on your behalf by your child’s treating physician. The Pediatric Pain & Palliative Care team evaluates all aspects of your child’s care to help reduce pain, nausea, anxiety and other discomforts that may be associated with serious illness, as well as help with communication between you and your child’s medical teams if needed. The team can also help with treatment decisions, when needed, and integrates mind-body care into all aspects of its consultations. The Pediatric Pain & Palliative Care team is located in the third-floor Comfort Corner room. To learn more, visit uclahealth.org/pedspain or call (310) 825-0731.
People-Animal Connection (PAC)
PAC volunteer-dog teams offer companionship and warmth to critically ill children and adults. PAC teams enhance physical healing and emotional well-being by providing a positive bonding opportunity between canines and patients of all ages, cultures and socioeconomic levels. PAC teams (consisting of the canine and his or her human parent) meet UCLA’s strict eligibility criteria and successfully complete a nationally standardized behavioral exam before engaging in bedside visits. If you feel your child would benefit from this service, please tell your bedside nurse. Visit uclahealth.org/pac to learn more.
Psychiatry and psychology consultants become involved in the care of your child when requested by your child’s primary medical team. Because hospitalization can be very stressful for any child, these consultants evaluate and treat a wide variety of behavioral, cognitive, emotional and developmental concerns that can complicate medical care and recovery from illness. Consultants may also teach specific coping techniques to children struggling with serious illnesses or distressing procedures, teach parents specific parenting strategies and provide medication recommendations for symptoms such as insomnia, pain, trauma, distress, anxiety or depression.
If your child’s hospital stay is longer than 10 days, your child’s physician and social worker can arrange for your child to receive schooling according to his or her individual needs. A hospital teacher offers individual lesson plans for patients during hospitalization. Lessons follow curricula set by the Los Angeles Unified School District and the state of California.
Interfaith chaplains are members of the health care team and are available to visit regardless of a patient’s faith tradition, to pray at request, to share in faith questions, to bring scriptures or holy writings from a specific faith tradition, and to help meet specific faith needs, such as communion, baptism, anointing of the sick and reconciliation. If you would like a visit from the interfaith chaplain on your unit, tell your nurse, or call (310) 825-7484.