Child and Family Life

Child and family life Services uses age-appropriate education, preparation and supportive activities to minimize stress and help children and their families cope positively with their healthcare experience.

Recreation Therapy and Play

  • Central Recreation Room / Forever Young Zone – Patients of all ages and their families are welcome to participate in free play as well as structured activities such as arts and crafts and games. The "Tech Zone" has video games and computers with Internet access. In addition, toys and games may be borrowed for bedside use. Hours: check with department.
  • Preschool – A free choice play and learning program designed around the skills and developmental needs of infants and young children up to the age of six. Weekday mornings.
  • Pet Assisted Therapy – "Furry Friends" volunteers bring their dogs and cats to visit with patients and their families three times a month.
  • Bedside Activities – Recreation Therapists/Child Life Specialists assess patient needs and provide play activities. In addition, volunteers may visit bedside to provide activities such as the "Art Cart" or "Books Alive," books on computer.

Preparing for Procedures and Surgery

Medical procedures can be confusing and frightening to children and teens. Child Life Specialists prepare children and teens for procedures and surgery using educational materials such as photo albums, drawings, miniature equipment and dolls. Sessions are geared to the developmental level and needs of the individual child and his or her family. In addition, the Child Life Specialist helps the child or teen practice coping techniques such as deep breathing to get through a procedure more easily. Preparation is provided for inpatients and outpatients.

If your child is scheduled for a procedure or surgery at you may call the Recreation Therapy/Child Life office at (650) 497-8336 for more information.

Sibling Support and Education

  • Play opportunities – Siblings are welcome to participate in Preschool, Forever Young Zone and Teen Group activities. (Children younger than 5 must be accompanied to activities by a responsible adult.)
  • Preparation for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit visits – Child Life Specialists prepare siblings for what they will see, explain how medical equipment is helping and suggest ways that siblings can be involved with their hospitalized brother or sister.

Parent Support and Education

  • Consultations – Parents may consult with Child Life Specialists when they have concerns related to their child's adjustment to illness/hospitalization, parenting in the hospital and other related concerns.
  • Educational resources – The Family Resource Library offers patients and families educational resources about health care, specific diagnoses and parenting.
  • Recreational opportunities – Parents are welcome to attend Preschool and Forever Young Zone activities with their children/teens and to borrow activities for their child.

Outpatient Services

  • Hematology-Oncology Clinic/Day Hospital – Recreation Therapists/Child Life Specialists, assisted by volunteers, provide activities and/or preparation for medical procedures.
  • Cheers – Utilizing community resources, the Recreation Therapy/Child Life staff plan and supervise activities for children and teens with cancer and their families. Activities such as skiing, kayaking and attending sporting events have been popular in the past. For more information call the Recreation Therapy/Child Life office at (650) 497-8336.