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Child Life Program

The Activity Room | Patient Support & Education Pre-surgical Tours | Procedural Preparation & Support | Supporting Child Life

Because hospital stays can be a difficult and stressful experience for children and adolescents, Child Life Services was established in Evanston in 1977 to help alleviate some of the anxieties of patients and families. Our Pediatric and Adolescent Unit located at Evanston Hospital serves patients as young as newborns and up to 21 years of age. The Child Life team collaborates with medical staff to positively affect every aspect of your child's treatment.

Run by Certified Child Life Specialists, who are experts in infant, child and adolescent development, our program promotes effective coping through play, education and self-expression activities, as well as provides emotional support for families. We work towards optimum development of children and teens facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization.

Our Services

The Activity Room

Evanston Hospital has a beautiful activity room, offering games, books, puzzles, toys, movies and video games, available to patients and their families at all times. In addition, diversional and therapeutic activities such as crafts, medical art and baking are available when supervised by the Child Life staff. If your child is unable to leave his or her room, we can bring elements of the playroom to patient rooms.

We encourage medical play, or play with a healthcare theme, and provide a medical play center in the activity room with X-rays, IVs, needle-less syringes and other pieces of real and play equipment. This provides children an opportunity to reverse roles and act out what has occurred during their treatment. This child-directed play can also be used by the Child Life Specialist to discover and address patients’ misconceptions, concerns and fantasies.

Patient Support & Education

People of all ages, especially children and adolescents, can feel overwhelmed or powerless in a hospital setting. Separation from friends and school, physical activity restrictions, invasive or uncomfortable procedures, and unfamiliar medical terminology can all create a sense of confusion. To help patients better adjust, Child Life plays a key role in guiding and helping patients both understand what is happening and find adaptive ways to cope.

Pre-surgical Tours

Because we understand how stressful it can be for both children and parents to come for out-patient surgery, we invite you to bring your child and their siblings to the Pediatric Preparation Program prior to the scheduled surgery. The program is best suited for children ages three to 11, however many parents of young infants or toddlers also attend and find the program both informative and reassuring.

Please call 847.570.2831 for more information.

Procedural Preparation & Support

To help children feel more at ease, our Child Life Specialists provide them with the accurate, reassuring, age-appropriate explanations they need to understand what is going to happen and why. We use many things, including medical play, books, pictures and real medical equipment, to describe what will happen in advance of a procedure.

Before the procedure, we will meet with you and your child to develop a positive coping strategy that is tailored to your child. Whenever possible, Child Life encourages parents to be present with their child during a procedure. If a parent is unable to be present, Child Life staff is available to accompany patients to procedures.  

Supporting Child Life

The Child Life program at Evanston Hospital relies on the continued generous support from organizations and individual members of the community. While the Starlight Foundation, TOYS я US and Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation have helped us acquire some essential basic needs such as a playroom and teaching instruments, the fundamental day-to-day operation of our program is supported by donations from individuals and families of the community. We greatly appreciate donations of any kind, such as stuffed animals or toys (must be new, never used) or monetary donations that help us maintain a fun, therapeutic atmosphere on the Pediatric and Adolescent Unit.

For More Information

For more information on our child life program, please contact:

Katelyn Beyer, BA, CCLS
Child Life Coordinator
847.570.0231 fax