Child Life Specialists Help Ease the Hospital Experience

Child Life Specialists focus on the emotional, psychological and developmental well-being of pediatric patients. This is done by providing coping support during medical experiences to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety.

Services our Child Life Specialist may provide include:

  • Talking with children about what they will feel and see before, during and after a procedure, and providing emotional or physical support throughout the process
  • Providing distractions, such as toys and books
  • Helping alleviate the child's stress and anxiety with deep breathing, play and visual stimulus, or simply letting the child express his or her emotions
  • Keeping families informed and helping make sure they understand any diagnosis or treatment their child may receive
  • Preparing children for surgery, radiology procedures, wound care, and insertion of an IV, PICC line, feeding tube or chest tube

Meet the Child Life Specialist at Texoma Medical Center

Jesica Messer, BS, CCLS, is the Certified Child Life Specialist at Texoma Medical Center. She often uses interactive teaching methods to encourage children to talk openly about how they’re feeling. This helps our pediatric patients and families gain a better understanding of a new diagnosis. Support from a child’s parents, siblings or other caregivers also plays a major role in their treatment. At times, Jesica will focus her attention on families to offer information and guidance and prepare them for procedures or set up activities that involve the whole family.

Child Life Training and Education

Child Life Specialists have received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child life, child development, family studies or a related field. The Association of Child Life Professionals grants special certification to those who complete their examination-based program. These Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) help children cope with their healthcare experience.

Normalizing the Hospital Through Play

When pediatric patients are not coping well or become uncooperative, Child Life Specialists work with healthcare workers and families to develop an individualized plan of care. This can involve recreational activities and play intended to enhance their understanding of care and ease their anxiety, fear or confusion. These activities offer a distraction and enable children to become familiar with their care. For example, playing with toy medical equipment can help pediatric patients feel comfortable around actual medical supplies.

Bereavement Services

When necessary, Child Life Specialists work with chaplains and social workers to support patients and families during the last stages of life. Child Life Specialists can help patients express their feelings, emotions and concerns and offer legacy activities such as hand prints, pictures, letters and memory boxes to help patients to say goodbye.

Get a Physician Referral

If you need a referral to a pediatrician or other physician at Texoma Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 1-903-416-3627 or search for a physician online.