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Sibling Support Centre

The centre provides safe, short-term sibling support (up to two hours in the Centre) with play in a creative setting for siblings who are on campus while their brother or sister is in care or receiving care.
Services and hours

Sibling Support Centre - centre visit

As a non-licensed, volunteer-supported environment, the centre will support children or youth that are ages three and older. One volunteer will play with up to four children at a time. All children visiting the centre must be toilet-trained and able to feed themselves. 

The centre has age-appropriate learning activities such as: 

  • arts and crafts 
  • board games
  • movies
  • video games 
  • quiet spaces to read or rest 

The centre will also provide a single-serve nutritional snack, for children who may wish to have a healthy snack break during their stay. 

Our volunteers will work to help reduce the fear and anxiety siblings may have about their brother or sister’s hospital stay and alleviate wait-time stress on families or siblings. 

The Sibling Support Centre is a new centre created from the generous donations from the BC Children’s & Women’s foundations and auxiliaries. With the support of donors and the many partners who have supported this work for more than four years, the centre is now in it's pilot phase.

Centre's open hours

The centre’s pilot hours are Monday to Friday excluding statutory holidays, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The centre’s scheduled available times are:

  • 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., reminder sent at 10:30a.m. for pick up
  • 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., reminder sent at 12:45p.m. for pick up
  • 1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., reminder sent at 3:00p.m. for pick up

Under Three Sibling Support Service - volunteer visit

The Under Three Sibling Support Service is a volunteer-led service for siblings of patients staying in the hospital or visiting clinics. It is designed for short-term visits (choice of a block of 3 hours or under) and meets the needs of children under three years of age.  One volunteer will play with one sibling during a booking time.

Research has shown that fear and anxiety are greatly reduced in siblings of sick children through distraction/play/activities and entertainment, as well as allowing the parents/care providers time to focus on the child in care without worry.

With volunteers being placed on the units and in waiting room areas, department areas would provide a ‘point-person’ for the volunteer to connect with while on the unit/area for emergencies and introductions to families (where to meet, orientation to the departments play space for volunteers to set up, etc).

Under Three operating hours

The Under Three Sibling Support pilot hours are Monday – Friday excluding statutory holidays and dependent on volunteer availability and staff point-person availability
  • Block 1 - 9:00 am -12:00 pm
  • Block 2 - 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Block 3 - 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Possible closure notices:

The centre will be closed statutory holidays and during any labour disruption resulting in assignment of essential service levels. 

The centre may be closed in exceptional weather conditions that would impact the safety of family and staff.

The centre will follow pandemic restrictions, such as a closure, that may be implemented by Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

Support provided 

Does my child have to be toilet-trained to visit the Centre? 

Yes, all children must be toilet-trained and able to feed themselves to visit the Centre. With our volunteers supporting all of the centre’s activities, their capacity is limited in assisting children who require help in the washrooms. Hand washing support will be provided.

My child has unique needs and requires professional care or specialized assistance. Can they use the space? 

We want to be able to assist with specialized care requests but at this time, the centre does not provide specialized support and can only support children who if required, attend with a professional support person who is welcome, but retained by the family. 

How will you manage allergies if you are providing snacks?

  • A menu board will be posted outside the space for families to review prior to checking in. 
  • We will confirm with you that your child/children have no dietary allergies/restrictions to our menu of the day.
  • There will also be an allergy/dietary restrictions checklist on the online booking system that we will confirm with you when you arrive.
How will you be monitoring COVID-19 and any infectious  diseases, such as noroviruses (vomiting, diarrhea)?

  • When families enter the hospital, they will be asked to complete COVID-19 screening with our onsite screening staff. 
  • Families/guardians will also be screened at the centre check-in for any symptoms in their child/children.
  • Should a child become ill during their visit, we will contact the family/guardian immediately to collect their child/children. 
  • If required, the centre will provide contact tracing information to Infection Control at BC Children’s and BC Women’s to contact families that were in the centre at that time.
Can staff or visitors of the campus use the space for their children? 

No, the centre is dedicated to care for siblings of patients in care who are on campus at BC Children’s’ and BC Women’s
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Booking a space

Please note, bookings are first come, first served and cannot be reserved more than five months from the date of booking. 

Bookings are limited to one visit per child, once a day only.

Under Three Sibling Support requests require 24 hours notice to book a volunteer and confirm a departments support person for the volunteer. Please call or email the Centre to start a booking request.

Families can access booking a space by: 

  • Our online booking portal
  • Phone Line: 604-875-3594 or Toll-Free Line: 1-855-875-3594
  • Email us: 
  • Drop by the centre in person, to book a time. Drop-in is accepted, based on the centre’s availability at the time of arrival.
We will be at the hospital for many appointments. Can we book more than one space during the day?  
  • No, at this point, space is limited to one visit per child, once a day. 
  • If space allows, you may book your child on consecutive days, but only one visit per day.
  • A waitlist will also be available to families on the booking system, which will notify the centre that you are interested in spot, if it becomes available to book. 
  • Should you wish to drop by the centre or call, we can see if additional space is available from cancellations.

Tips for your online booking

When logging into the booking system for the first time, the system will ask you to create an account for your child. Families can set up either one or many sibling account(s) through the online booking system.

If you require assistance with multiple bookings, please call our toll-free line 1-855-875-3594 to speak with a volunteer who is happy to help.

The booking system requires details such as:

  • Sibling name, birthdate, parent/guardian name and contact information (phone number and email address);
  • Where the parent/guardian will be on campus, during the play time booking (hospital clinic/program name);
  • Secondary contact name/number, should the parent/guardian be unable to return by the end of the play time to collect their child/children (preauthorized alternate care provider);
  • Sibling allergies, medical conditions, immunizations and whether they are toilet-trained;
  • Consent form and disclaimer that personal information will be shared for contact tracing, for communicable diseases like COVID-19 or chickenpox. The parent/guardian will need to read and accept the consent form, prior to their booking being processed.
  • If your child is permitted to have a snack in the centre and play outside
Booking times will show as ‘available’ or ‘booked’. No personal details will be shown on the booking system to anyone outside of the centre
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Centre pick-up and drop-off

When you arrive outside the centre, floor stickers will guide you to line up for either ‘Pick-Up’ or ‘Drop-Off’
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The centre will be asking families to wait outside, to keep the entranceway clear for volunteers and children entering/exiting the space.

Before dropping off your child/children, a volunteer will come out to welcome you and begin the check-in/check-out process and ask parents/guardians to confirm their child’s information in our system.

Please note, we will do our best to complete your registration in a timely manner, but we ask that you give yourself an additional 10 minutes to complete this important step before you leave for your other child’s clinic/department visits. 

When registration is complete and your child/children are with us, you will receive a 15-minute notification reminder/alert on your mobile device prior to your pick-up time from the centre.

  Please Note:
  • Children will not be permitted to remain past their scheduled time and must be picked up by parents/guardians; 
  • Should a child become ill, the parent/guardian will be asked to pick up their child/children as soon as possible from the centre;
  • Should our staff or our children’s safety be compromised by another child, the parent/guardian will be asked to pick up their child as soon as possible from the centre.
The Sibling Support Centre is a new Centre created from the generous donations from our C+W Auxiliaries and BC Children’s & Women’s Hospital Foundations. With the support of donors and the many partners who have informed this work for more than four years, the Centre has now moved into our pandemic centric pilot.

The centre’s workflow and design came from three working advisories that included staff, leaders, fundraisers, patients and families. The shared goal of the advisories was to create a safe and supervised center for siblings who may require short respite play while a family member is receiving care at BC Children’s or BC Women’s.

Driving Principles

  • Focused: We listen to what matters most to children, youth and families
  • Inclusive: We intend to serve siblings of patients from across campus equitably
  • Culture: We commit to a program that reflects cultural safety and humility
  • Research Driven: We will use evidence-based evaluation and share the organization’s ongoing pursuit of patient-centric quality improvements
  • Exceptional: We demonstrate a commitment to co-design with patients and families, creative thinking and exceptional experiences
  • Innovative: Our work fosters a spirit of inquiry and innovation that will result in positive sibling and family experiences

Our staff

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Coordinator, Sibling Support Centre: 
We are delighted to welcome Rhiannon Satherley, to the Patient Experience team as our coordinator for the Sibling Support Centre. 

With over 20 years of working at BC Children’s and BC Women’s, Rhiannon works to frame her interactions with a trauma informed lens, and continuously reflects on being open to others and their cultural experiences. Rhiannon is passionate about supporting siblings and their families through the centre and looks forward to collaborating with community partners.

Coordinator, Volunteer Resources - Sibling Support Centre: Jasmine pic.jpg
We are also excited to welcome Jasmine Soltys, as Coordinator, Volunteer Resources-Sibling Support Centre. Jasmine will work to support the coordination of the centre and the centre stakeholders including families, volunteers, partners, funders and C+W Volunteer Resources.

Through her education at the University of British Columbia and service at BC Children's Hospital, Jasmine has gained skills and experiences to support those around her with compassion and humility. Jasmine is passionate about applying evidence-based approaches to improve patient and family experience. She strives to better understand their needs and unique perspectives for targeted and inclusive care

The centre’s staff will work to support families with short term respite and the opportunity to focus on the child/patient receiving care, while knowing their other child/children are in a safe play setting. Staff will also assist families with locating other resource services and information, as needed.

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Pandemic practices

The centre will provide handwashing pumps and masks for families when they arrive. Dishes, surfaces and toys will be cleaned frequently and between uses – all good practices at any time.

SOURCE: Sibling Support Centre ( )
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