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Child Life

UNC Children’s child life specialists and recreational therapists will work closely with you and other members of the care team to help your child with their healthcare experiences and to provide therapeutic play opportunities during his or her stay at N.C. Children’s Hospital.

You can trust your child is getting safe, effective child life services, because our child life specialists are nationally certified by the Child Life Certifying Commission, and our licensed recreational therapists are certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Certified Child Life Specialists

UNC Children’s offers child life specialists who are skilled at identifying and helping to treat children’s unique psychosocial needs. Child life specialists will work with you and the rest of the healthcare team to:

  • Provide non-medical preparation and support to children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other procedures
  • Help children with anxiety, pain, coping and adjustment to hospitalization/healthcare encounters in developmentally appropriate ways
  • Help children with medication compliance (related to anxiety or behavior)
  • Foster an emotionally supportive environment
  • Consider the needs of siblings who may be affected by a child’s illness or injury

Play Facilities

Your child will be able to attend N.C. Children’s Hospital’s many play facilities as long as his/her medical condition allows. In these recreational spaces, your child will find calm, fun, and friendly environments that offer opportunities for emotional expression, physical activity, social interaction, and healing through play. These facilities include:

For children confined to their hospital rooms for medical reasons, our staff will work with you and other members of the care team to bring medically appropriate recreation to them at the bedside. If you have questions, be sure to ask your nurse.

Special Activities and Events

Your child will still be able to do many things while admitted to the Children’s Hospital. These may include arts and crafts, video games, imaginative play and music activities. There are often special groups that may come and do activities in the play facilities with our patients. We also have visits from local celebrities on occasion. The facilities and the activities within have been designed to meet the desires and play needs of the children admitted to UNC.

Find Family-Centered Care at UNC

At UNC Children’s and N.C. Children’s Hospital, you’ll find friendly, compassionate staff who are experts at working with children and families. We’ll do our best to ease your anxiety, help you understand your child’s medical condition so you can make informed choices about their care, and offer whatever additional support you need. You can help make your experience go as smoothly as possible by exploring our patients and visitors section to learn about:

Contact Us

If your child is inpatient and you have questions about our child life offerings, please ask your nurse

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