clinics
Skip to main content
Close

Child Life Department

We help make hospitalization a more positive experience through play, preparation, music and creative arts.
Child Life



 

Child life promotes coping through various interventions to help children, youth and families with stressful events. Providing play and other normal activities can help with this coping process. Child life programs endeavour to meet each family’s unique emotional and social needs. 

Child life programs typically offer several services to address the social and emotional needs of children, youth and families:

 

  • therapeutic and recreational play opportunities;
  • age-appropriate activities and explanations;
  • preparation before and support during and after stressful events;
  • opportunities for peer socialization;
  • coping techniques, such as distraction, breathing, relaxation techniques, for procedures;
  • coordination of holiday events, entertainment and special visitors;
  • advocacy for family-centered care
*Two of our most popular programs are the Therapeutic Clown Program and the Dog Visitation Program.

Therapeutic Clown Program: 

A therapeutic hospital clown is a professional entertainer who has been thoroughly trained in the specifics of working in a hospital environment – physical hygiene, emotional hygiene, infection control, confidentiality and professional etiquette. The therapeutic clown works on a regular basis (for example, once a week) and is directly responsible to the Child Life Department. The clown is fully briefed by the child life specialists before engaging with the patients, and understands that the wishes and needs of the child takes priority over those of the clown.

“Ms. Phizzio Fit – Frizzio Therapist” or “Fizzie” as many of the children fondly refer to her, began at Children’s in 2004. In 2013, we saw the addition of a second therapeutic clown, “Cosmo.” “Fizzie” and “Cosmo” come into the hospital weekly to spend time with inpatients. They also visit outpatient clinics.


For more information, refer to the Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns website.





Dog Visitation Program


The Dog Visitation Program’s purpose is to support the psychosocial needs of children and families in hospital by providing them with: 


  • Opportunities to experience unconditional acceptance and affection between dogs and individuals
  • Relief from stress and anxiety of hospitalization
  • Normalized opportunities for socialization, sensory stimulation, and diversion that children can look forward to on a regular basis
  • Activities that increase patient responsiveness and ease isolation and boredom

Please contact Lisa Knight for more information about the Dog Visitation Program and see "Volunteering with us" for information on becoming a therapeutic dog volunteer.


collage-2018-01-09.jpg


Ben hugs cooper.jpg

For more information on the academic requirements of becoming a child life specialist please contact Christine Slavik at the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of the Fraser Valley.  


For further information about the professional requirements of becoming a child life specialist please see The Association of Child Life Professionals.  

To Become a Child Life Volunteer:


Volunteers and students are an integral part of child life service. If you would like to volunteer, see Volunteer with Us


To Become a Therapeutic Dog Volunteer:


BC Children's Hospital is excited to offer therapeutic dog volunteers. The hospital partners with St. John's Ambulance to train and screen our therapeutic dog volunteers. If you are interested in committing to a weekly shift, please see these requirements and find the online form. Make sure to indicate "Therapy Dog Volunteer at BC Children's Hospital" in the "Area of Interest" field. 

If you would like a list of toys, games and other items the Child Life Department needs in their play areas and units, please see our wishlist. You are also able to give online through our hospital foundation. 


For all non-monetary donations, please contact Patient Experience.


Due to infection control guidelines, we regret that we cannot accept any used toys or books for patient care areas.


The Sunny Bear Birthday Club helps your child donate any funds raised from birthdays to the patients and families of the hospital. 

Thank you to our donors. Without you, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. 


 



 





































Procedural Preparation

 We believe children and youth need to understand what is happening to them. A child life specialist can help children and youth understand their experiences and feelings through play, education and support.

Below are a variety of preparation materials, dedicated to help your child or youth prepare for different procedures.

Every person with autism is unique. An Autism Assessment Form is available to help us better understand your child's needs. You can send this form to the child life specialist in your hospital area.


Additional Resources:


Bloodwork is a very common procedure for children coming to the hospitals. Provided below are a variety of resources aimed to alleviate the potential stress of coming for bloodwork:


If you feel that your child would benefit from extra support with getting bloodwork, please contact Lisa Knight or Jannie Ngo to book a child life specialist to work with your child at BC Children's Hospital.

Non-Sedated MRI:

The child life department offers opportunities for children and youth to prepare for a non-sedated MRI with an MRI simulator. Please contact MRI Simulator for more information.

MRI with Sedation:


Our Team


 

Please see the list below for our current team of Child Life Specialists within each area of the hospital.

 



Name

Program

E-mail Address


Brooke Angus


Youth / Inpatient Units


bangus@cw.bc.ca


Carol Wiedemann


PICU / Burn Program


cwiedemann@cw.bc.ca


Erin Johnston


Oncology Program


ejohnston@cw.bc.ca







Weekend Program:

Amanda Lascelle (alascelle@cw.bc.ca)

Emergency Department:

Bernadette Sanchez (bsanchez@cw.bc.ca)

Burn Program:

Catherine Leung (cleung8@cw.bc.ca)

Creative Arts Program:

Catia Stuart (cstuart@cw.bc.ca)

Inpatient Units:

Claire Brown (cbrown4@cw.bc.ca)

Dawn McKeller (dmckellar@cw.bc.ca)

Inpatient Units/Renal Unit:

Rita Marchildon (rmarchildon@cw.bc.ca)

Inpatient Units/PICU:

Joanne Hochu (jhochu@cw.bc.ca)

Oncology Inpatient:

Heather Denton (hdenton@cw.bc.ca)

Tracy Denhoed (tdenhoed@cw.bc.ca)

Outpatient Oncology Clinic:

Kristina Jackson (kjackson@cw.bc.ca)

Medical Imaging:

Reyna Webb (rwebb4@cw.bc.ca)

Kirsten Farquharson (kirsten.farquharson@cw.bc.ca)

Medical Day Unit/Lab & Dog Therapy Program:

Lisa Knight (lknight@cw.bc.ca)

Medical Day Unit/Lab, CLICK, Upopolis:

Jannie Ngo (jannie.ngo@cw.bc.ca)
Tab Heading

 

 

 



SOURCE: Child Life Department ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Children's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2018 Provincial Health Services Authority.