Child Life is a team of caregivers specialised in preparing children and their families by giving them psychological and emotional support before surgery in order to reduce the child’s anxiety and to ease their recovery.
The moments leading up to an operation are the most stressful for the child and their family. It has been demonstrated that a child’s level of preoperative anxiety is related to the degree of pain in their recovery and the amount of painkillers required. This is why Child Life provides individualised care to each child in order to explain the procedures they will undergo at the Hospital in a way that is adapted to the age and their conditions.
The SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital is the only Spanish hospital that has this pre-and post surgical emotional care figure called Child Life.
Reduce children's fear of surgery
By playing, improvising, drawing, with music, stories and listening, we foster the expression of feelings and emotions in children, helping them to understand what is happening. This helps our patients to feel as reassured as possible when they go for surgery.
Before surgery, we also show the child and their parents the operating theatres and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) so that they will know the people who will be operating on them while they are asleep, as well as the nurses that will take care of them when they wake up. On the day of the operation, the parents can be with their child during the induction of anaesthesia. Moreover, the Child Life team will show them what they can do to help their child to deal with the experience of hospitalisation positively.
We take care of the emotional stability of children who are about to undergo complex surgery. It is important for them, and for the parents, but it is also important for the entire surgical team treating them.