Child Life

We're giving children a better healthcare experience.

At Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, child life specialists are an integral part of your little one’s care team. Specialists work to reduce stress and trauma in clinical settings for children and their families. Stress and trauma can affect the development, health and well-being of children and can affect family members as well.

Child life specialists earn nationally recognized certification credentials and have bachelor’s or master’s degrees, along with training in human growth and development, education, psychology or counseling. Our specialists use a family-centered approach to address children’s social and emotional needs. This includes providing age-appropriate explanations and helping to prepare children and their families for recommended medical care. Support such as this can help patients better understand what is happening and help build trust. You’ll find that child life specialists will look for opportunities for therapeutic play, which allows children to express themselves. The activities provide an outlet for feelings, peer interaction and a sense of mastery.

Child life services can support your family in the following ways:

  • Provide comfort and support, particularly for children who are going through a significant change or who are upset about a disruption to their routine
  • Offer developmentally appropriate preparation before treatment and assist with creating a coping plan for an upcoming medical experience
  • Provide support and distraction during procedures
  • Offer sessions to help a child play through medical experiences while in the hospital
  • Provide information regarding sibling responses to hospitalization
  • Provide age-appropriate information about a diagnosis
  • Provide grief and bereavement resources to families that have recently lost a loved one
  • Provide presurgical tours
  • Facilitate group activities in the playroom and teen room

Questions about child life?