Pediatric support services at Wesley Children's

Hospitalization and illness are stressful moments in the lives of children, adolescents, and their families. At Wesley Children's, we offer a variety of support services dedicated to ensuring that you and your child remain supported during your hospital stay. These services include:

Child life specialists

At Wesley Children's, we have a dedicated team of child life specialists to support your journey every step of the way. Child life specialists are trained professionals who work as a part of the medical team to promote child development, positive learning, and mastery over the challenging events that come with being in the hospital environment. Child life specialists enhance a patient’s emotional, social, and cognitive growth during a hospital stay, considering each child’s family, culture, and individual stage of development.

Child life specialists:

  • Offer opportunities for play and expressive activities to normalize the environment and encourage normal development.
  • Use developmental interventions and medical play to help patients and families understand and adjust to their medical situations.
  • Prepare and provide support for children before and after medical procedures, surgeries, diagnoses, and treatments using language that children understand.
  • Help patients develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety, separation and adjustment to the hospital experience.
  • Promote family-centered care by providing information, advocacy, and support to families of pediatric patients.
  • Work with siblings of patients to help them understand the hospital experience
  • Provide bereavement support to families.
  • Respond to consults for children in NICU and adult units.

*Child life specialists are also available to help families with questions that may arise about a child’s behavior and adjustment to home or school after they have been in the hospital.

Our child life specialists

Casey Johns, BA, CCLS - Pediatric General Inpatient Unit

Megan Gerber, BS, CCLS, CIMT - Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Emily Doyle, BSW, CCLS - Pediatric Sedations and Infusions Unit

Sarah Mueler, BS, CCLS - Pediatric Emergency Department

Courtney Famuliner, BS, CCLS - Pediatric Emergency Department

Miranda Ruland, BGS, CCLS - PRN

Professional Qualifications

As professionals trained to work with children in medical settings, each specialist holds a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the areas of child life, child development, special education, or recreational therapy. Child life specialists are certified through the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) and are also members of the ACLP.

Family Support

Age-specific Tips for Supporting Your Hospitalized Child

Infants (Birth-18 months)

  • Maintain a routine (sleeping and feeding schedules, etc.).
  • Bring familiar, comforting items from home.
  • Be present during potentially stressful or painful situations.
  • Provide soothing words and comforting touch to your child.
  • Provide stimulation to assist them in continuing to explore their environment.
  • Bring play into their hospital environment.

Toddlers (18 months-3 years)

  • Maintain a routine.
  • Bring familiar, comforting items from home.
  • Be present and involved during potentially stressful or painful situations.
  • Provide soothing words and comforting touch.
  • Offer realistic choices when available.
  • Bring play into their hospital environment.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

  • Maintain a routine.
  • Bring familiar, comforting items from home.
  • Be present and involved during potentially stressful or painful situations.
  • Provide extra care and comfort.
  • Offer realistic choices when available.
  • Bring play into their hospital environment.
  • Be open and honest as to what will happen and provide simple descriptions about how it will sound and feel.

School Age (5-12 years)

  • Offer realistic choices.
  • Bring familiar, comforting items from home.
  • Be present and involved during potentially stressful or painful situations.
  • Be open and honest as to what will happen and how it will feel.
  • Involve your child in their plan of care.
  • Encourage family and peer communication, visitation, and involvement.
  • Bring familiar activities (likes/dislikes) into their hospital environment.

Adolescents (12-18 years)

  • Create and follow a daily schedule.
  • Encourage visitation from peers and loved ones.
  • Respect choices of privacy.
  • Be present and involved during potentially stressful or painful situations.
  • Be open and honest as to what will happen and how it will feel.
  • Involve your child in their plan of care.
  • Encourage expression of emotions and validate them.
  • Acknowledge feelings regarding body image.
  • Bring familiar activities (likes/dislikes) into their hospital environment.

Sedation services

Pediatric sedation at Wesley Children’s Hospital offers patients the benefit of pain and anxiety relief based on each child’s specific needs prior to medical procedures. One of our pediatric intensivists, a hospital-based pediatric physician, is in the procedural unit each day. The pediatric sedation nurses specially trained for this patient population.

Some procedures appropriate for pediatric sedation include:

  • PIV start
  • Radiological/neurodiagnostic procedure
  • Procedural sedation with analgesia for: PICC insertion, bone marrow aspiration or biopsy, bronchoscopy, circumcision, CVL removals, echocardiography, lumbar puncture with intrathecal chemotherapy, needle EMG with or without Botox injections, CT Scan, MRI scan, EDG, renal ultrasound, renal scan with nuclear medicine, cerebral arteriogram, EEG, shuntogram bone scan, thoracentesis US, radiation TX/non-invasive imaging, BAER and other procedures.

The pediatric sedation program at Wesley has provided superior patient and family care since 2003. Our pediatric sedation staff provides careful screening and continuous monitoring of each patient before, during and after each sedation. Child Life specialists contribute to the overall comfort and easy of stay with games, toys and procedure strategies.

Playrooms

  • General Inpatient Pediatrics Unit Playroom
  • General Inpatient Pediatrics Teen Lounge
  • Sedations and Infusions Unit Playroom
  • Pediatric Ambulatory Surgery Unit/Pediatric Pre-Op Playroom

Volunteering with Pediatrics

We are always in need of enthusiastic volunteers who want to work with children in the hospital. For information on volunteering please contact our guest services department at (316) 962-2100.

Pediatrics at Wesley Healthcare

Pediatrics is the medical care of children, this ranges from infants to adolescents. Pediatricians are specially trained to treat behavioral problems, mental health issues and diseases as they relate to children. Pediatric care includes well check-ups, vaccinations and much more.

Learn about Pediatrics