Child Life Therapy Week 12-17 March 2017

This week throughout the Network, we will be celebrating Child Life Therapy Week and acknowledging the wonderful service the team offer our patients.

We asked Child Life Therapist, Kylie Estreich what she finds most rewarding about her job; “Without a doubt, seeing the growth and progress of the kids. Their courage and determination is remarkable, and being able to meet them at the point of diagnosis – when their world has just been turned completely upside down – and play a part in breaking down their anxieties and helping them to develop strategies to cope through their treatment and watching their confidence grow is extraordinarily rewarding.”

She added, “children are so insightful, even if they don’t realise it. They make you take a step back and appreciate the simplest things in life. As an adult you can get so caught up in the stress and demands of the daily grind that you can forget how to be in the moment and children have a way of grounding you and bringing that back. The children I have the privilege of working with each day are so resilient.”

In celebration of the week, please see below further information about Child Life Therapy.

What is Child Life Therapy?

Child Life Therapy is an essential component of paediatric healthcare. It involves evidence based interactions focused on the developmental, social and emotional wellbeing of children in hospital, with the aim of reducing the stress and anxiety surrounding hospitalisation.

Child Life Therapists are part of the health care team and support the needs of children and young people and their families by; providing positive experiences, developmentally appropriate play sessions, medical play, procedure education, distraction and cognitive refocusing strategies. These strategies help to build resilience and coping skills in children and young people with health related anxieties.

How can you contact Child Life Therapy?

Child Life Therapists visit inpatient areas daily, so can be spoken to face to face. Patients and families can enquire through their nurse or treating team.

Did you know...

• In 2014, their professional title changed from Play Therapy to Child Life Therapy.

• All Child Life Therapists at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network require formal qualifications in child development.

• In 2006 Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network were the first to employ an after-hours Child Life Therapist to better meet the needs of patients admitted to Emergency.

• Child Life Therapists at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network are acknowledged within the profession for their expertise.

• In the last year they have presented at many national and international conferences.

• In 1996 Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick pioneered the use of Play Therapy in an Australian Emergency department.

• Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick was the first hospital in Australia to employ a person dedicated to play. 42 years later we employ 11 Child Life Therapists and 3 Music Therapists (equivalent of 10.4 full time positions).