There is increasing emphasis on the finances involved in the care of children in hospitals. In times of financial difficulty, biosocial programs may be curtailed. One of the most progressive, useful, and humane programs to be initiated in recent years is the child life concept. These programs are essential to quality care, and the Committee on Hospital Care (COHC) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is concerned that existing child life programs may be endangered and plans for new programs abandoned, because of fiscal restraints. The purpose of this statement is to describe the concept of child life, its nature, function, and inherent worth. Information is provided for physicians, hospital administrators, government officials, and others who make decisions affecting the sponsorship of child life programs in children's hospital units.
CHILD LIFE PROGRAMS
A unique activity in pediatric departments is the child life program. Originally developed in children's hospitals and in hospitals affiliated with medical schools, child life programs now are found in other children's units. The COHC believes that such programs are an essential component of quality care for hospitalized children.
Child life specialists meet developmental, emotional, recreational, and educational needs of hospitalized children and their families. They use play and other forms of communication to help children cope with health care experiences more positively. The child who uses a place devoted to play in the hospital commonly changes his perception of himself and his abilities. Hence, playrooms must be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, traction beds, stretchers, and accompanying apparatus—such as that used for suction and intravenous administrations—so that most patients can come and enjoy activities in these rooms.
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Academy of Pediatrics