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What, Why, How

What

Child Life Therapy (CLT) is a hospitalā€based program designed to help counteract the fears, misconceptions and anxiety that hospital experiences can provoke for children through distraction therapy and/or medical play activities that support the child’s developmental, social and emotional wellbeing.

Why

Reducing this anxiety in both child and family is considered critical for improved health and social outcomes following a period of hospitalisation. Without such support, children can become overwhelmed with anxiety about both hospital, procedure and/or operation, which can have a negative impact on their post-treatment recovery. The program also helps to improve the ability of medical clinicians to treat the patient efficiently and effectively.

How

This program is based at the Gold Coast University Hospital and is available for all child perioperative patients. The Child Life Therapist uses a range of distraction activities, including arts and crafts, puzzles and games, to put children at ease, and works with families to reduce their anxiety around the hospital experience.

Child Life Therapy Program Impact

Since our funding began, 1,213 children or 66.7% of all paediatric patients with a scheduled admission for theatre, have been seen by the Child Life Therapist. In addition, each patient’s family as well as medical staff have also been positively impacted by this service.

Just some of the program outcomes include: - reduced instances of surgery cancellations, optimised child health outcomes through an improved hospital journey and experience, the provision of tailored support for vulnerable and marginalised families as they engage with hospital services for their child/ren, perhaps for the very first time.

A parent whose child was hospitalised

"Having support from Jess (Child Life Therapist) and the team has just been profound. Without them, I think we would have been quite lost and quite scared.”

Improving Life Outcomes

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