Child Life Therapy

Child Life Therapy (CLT) aims to minimise the stress and anxiety that children, young people and their families may experience through their healthcare journey.

Phone: (03) 9594 4300
Fax: (03) 9594 6049

To support the Child Life Therapy Department at
Monash Children’s Hospital:

About us

Child Life Therapy (CLT) aims to minimise the stress and anxiety that children, young people and their families may experience through their healthcare journey.

Child Life Therapists are experts in child development, and support and empower children, young people and their families by helping them understand their hospital treatment. Child Life Therapists provide information and support for medical procedures, and opportunities for normalized play experiences. Play enables children to make sense of their environment, learning through imaginative play and hands on experiences will help develop concepts and understanding. Play helps unpack the hospital experience, which may be unfamiliar and confronting for some children.

CLT services may include;

  • General ‘medical play’ which seeks to correct misconceptions and reduce anxiety around medical experiences [i];
  • Specific play sessions focusing on procedures and useful coping skills have shown to reduce anticipatory anxiety, distress and positively impact future procedures [ii].
  • Procedural support and distraction provided by a CLT can also be effective in reducing patient and parent anxiety for ongoing invasive procedures [iii]. Interventions include comfort positioning, breathing techniques and cognitive distraction.

The CLT team offers a hospital wide service across Monash Children’s hospital including paediatric emergency and diagnostic imaging. The service also extends to Dandenong hospital.

In MRI, Child Life Therapists assist children to practice and understand what is involved in their scan, with the aim of demystifying the procedure and reducing the need for sedation.

i] McGrath, P. & Huff, N. (2001). “What is it?” Findings on preschoolers’ responses to play with medical equipment. Child: Care, Health and Development, 27, 451-462.

[ii] Claar, R.L., Walker, L.S., & Barnard, J.A. (2002). Children’s knowledge, anticipatory anxiety, procedural distress, and recall of esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 34, 68–72.

[iii] Dahlquist, L.M., Busby, S.M., Slifer, K.J., Tucker, C.L., Eischen,& nsbp;S., Hilley L., & Sulc, W. (2002). Distraction for children of different ages who undergo repeated needle sticks. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 19, 22-34.

Some context adapted from the Association of Child Life Therapy Australia. http://childlife.org.au/

Information for patients and families
  • Be Positive website
  • Everybody Stay Calm, by Dr Angela Mackenzie
  • Okee application for Medical Imaging
Referrals

Inpatient referrals for Child Life Therapy services can be made through the Patient Flow Manager. MRI education sessions are directly booked through Diagnostic Imaging. Direct enquiries can be made via 0481 904 461.

Start typing and press Enter to search