Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Child Life: Patient and Family Support

At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, our child life specialists help children and their families feel comfortable with their experience during their hospital stay and outpatient visits. Before patients and families arrive at our hospital, we provide helpful resources and information to help prepare patients and families for medical procedures, clinical visits and extended hospital stays. Our child life specialists work with clinical teams throughout our hospital to promote a family-centered approach to care that provides education, support and healing.

Sibling Support

We understand that when one family member is hospitalized, the entire family is affected. Siblings of patients may have questions, fears or worries of their own. Our child life specialists can help brothers and sisters understand their sibling’s new diagnosis or medical care. Child life specialists can also help support continued bonds and normal family experiences during extended separations and disruption to family routines caused by hospitalization.

Sibling support includes:

  • Teaching siblings about the diagnosis and answering questions

  • Preparing siblings before visiting their brother or sister

  • Encouraging positive and normal play experiences

  • Encouraging self-expression and positive coping related to their sibling’s hospitalization

  • Providing materials and opportunities to continue sibling bonds during separation

Preparing Children for Medical Procedures

Our team provides developmentally appropriate language and play to help patients cope during medical procedures. We also want patients and families to feel comfortable before they check in to our hospital. For a pre-operative tour, please contact us.

Preparation Materials

Our team offers a variety of preparation materials to support patients and families from check-in to discharge, including pictured directions to our hospital and Outpatient Care locations, social stories and preparation guides for surgical procedures.

Below are a variety of our preparation materials to help prepare you for your child's visit: 

Diagnosis Education

We teach patients about their diagnosis in a way they can understand by providing clear and simple language and age-appropriate teaching tools such as visuals, medical equipment and games. 

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Child Life in the Emergency Center

Our child life specialists use age-appropriate language to help teach patients and families about upcoming procedures in the Emergency Center. They also provide pain management support and developmentally appropriate items for distraction during procedures.

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