Child Life Program
Child life services are a vital part of a child’s medical treatment at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Our child life specialists are specially trained and educated health care professionals who help children of all ages — from preemies to young adults — cope with medical procedures and hospital stays. Child life specialists make a real difference for children and families by easing stress and anxiety and providing support through the challenges of illness, hospitalization, injury or disability.
What do child life specialists do?
Child life specialists care for a child’s emotional health. They can:
- Offer age-appropriate play opportunities that help children cope and express feelings
- Provide support for siblings visiting a loved one in the hospital
- Teach children about what to expect during a procedure or treatment
- Educate families and medical staff about a child’s particular needs
- Encourage normal family activities, such as play, school, birthdays and holidays
Where you'll find child life specialists
You’ll find our child life specialists working with infants, children, teens and families throughout our inpatient and outpatient units, including:
- Pediatric intensive care unit
- Pediatric cardiac intensive care unit
- Pediatric progressive care unit
- Pediatric acute care units
- Neonatal intensive care unit
- Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center
- DanceBlue Hematology Oncology Clinic
- Children’s sedation and procedure unit (CSPU)
Child life services we provide
Preparing for procedures
We help children before, during and after medical procedures. We use age-appropriate techniques to help your child understand procedures and process any fears and anxiety. We can also accompany children to their procedures to help them use coping skills to make the procedure easier. Find out more about how children and families can prepare for procedures.
Using medical play
Through play, children can explore the hospital, learn about their medical care and the hospital experience, and process their emotions. They can also participate in normal childhood activities. Learn more about how we use play to help children.
Getting ready for your child’s hospital stay
We can help you and your child prepare for and manage a hospital stay, whether you have a preemie in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or a school-age child or young adult in the hospital. Find out more about how we can help you and your family get ready for a hospital stay.
Kloiber Foundation Teen Lounge
Kentucky Children’s Hospital unveiled a new space designed exclusively for the hospital’s adolescent patients. The Kloiber Foundation Teen Lounge is a recreation room that has been renovated with teens in mind and outfitted with the latest tech gadgets.
Adolescent patients at Kentucky Children’s Hospital will have an assortment of cool gadgets in the Teen Lounge that addresses their needs for both fun escapism and intellectual exploration. The space features a giant screen for watching Apple TV or playing the newest video game consoles. Teens can experience virtual reality with a Meta Oculus 2 VR headset or control flying drones and programmable, app-enabled robots, or they can explore basic electrical engineering with a Snap Circuits set and experiment with newer tech like 3D printers and pens. Amenities include:
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox Series X
- Nintendo Switch
- art supplies
- MakerBot 3D Printer
- Nintendo Switch Lite (2)
- Meta Quest 2
- Sphero Robots
- LEGO Education Kits
- Tello Drones
- 3D Doodlers
- Snap Circuits
- Apple TV
Kentucky Children’s Hospital strives to provide for patients’ emotional, social, and psychological needs while they are undergoing treatment. Teens are at a crucial stage of growing up and need space to be themselves. In the Kloiber Foundation Teen Lounge, Kentucky Children’s Hospital now has a spot for that. Thanks to the Kloiber Foundation’s generous support, adolescent patients or siblings of patients can now use the new space to unwind and socialize with other teens.