Patient Support

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Child Life Specialists

“Our role is to promote coping and healthy development while kids are adjusting to and going through treatment,” says Child Life specialist Katy Tenhulzen of Seattle Children’s, a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance parent organization.

The Child Life team at Seattle Children’s is here to help make your child’s stay more positive, for your child as well as the rest of your family. Our services are designed to support your child’s emotional and developmental needs and to reduce the anxiety you and your family may feel while you’re here.

Through play activities, art therapy and music therapy, we help children understand their illness and medical procedures. Our goal is to help them adjust to their hospital experience. We also help them develop positive coping skills, express their feelings and simply have fun. The playroom and TeenZone are safe, supportive places where patients and siblings can enjoy special activities and entertainment. Activities with animals and visits from clowns bring another opportunity for joy and a break from the stress of treatment.

Child Life specialists also work with patients’ siblings to help them understand what’s happening, cope with the experience and express their feelings.

For parents, our Child Life specialists can provide information about child development, adjustment to illness and the ways play can help children cope with their experience.

To speak with someone from our Child Life program, call (206) 987-3646 (outpatient) or (206) 987-3169 (inpatient).

Child Life Volunteers

About 300 volunteers work in the Child Life department at Seattle Children’s. They can provide fun activities and company for your child at the hospital.