Child Life Services

Child life specialists partner with families and medical staff to make healthcare experiences easier and more comfortable for children. They help families cope with hospitalizations, surgeries, clinic procedures and appointments. Child life specialists are trained to provide information in ways your child can understand and are skilled in working with children and teens of all abilities. Most children, teens, and caregivers are less anxious and feel more in control when they know what to expect and have a plan to cope.

Child life specialist use play and other techniques to:

  • Increase comfort in an unfamiliar environment
  • Allow children to safely explore medical equipment they will see
  • Teach about procedures or diagnosis
  • Provide ways to express fears or concerns
  • Increase cooperation
  • Gain confidence that they will be successful

Child life specialists also:

  • Share information with other healthcare team members about what each child needs
  • Help family members be as involved as they feel comfortable
  • Support brothers and sisters and help them understand diagnosis
  • Provide grief support to patients and families

Child life specialists are available in the hospital and the clinic. Families can schedule a child life specialist for an upcoming clinic appointment. They also offer tours as part of the Teddy Bear Care program. It helps children prepare for surgery.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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