The role of Certified Child Life Specialists is traditionally one of helping hospitalized children cope with their illness, treatment and hospital stay. However, CAPES takes child life specialists beyond a hospital’s walls. “Our goal is to equip parents with knowledge by providing educational resources and therapeutic activities that address typical questions and responses,” Zenia Hudson, a child life specialist of CAPES program says.
Through this program, child life specialists work with parents and caregivers to best identify family needs and support parents and caregivers in engaging in effective coping strategies and sharing age-appropriate information with children. Child life specialists facilitate conversations with children about changes in parent’s treatment plans; lead discussions with adult patients and/or caregivers about what and how to share along with typical responses/reactions from children; facilitate end-of-life visits at parents’ bedsides; and provide grief and bereavement resources for both children and adults.
For Ms. Coronado, a patient at Harris Health, “Talking to child life gave me peace of mind and let me know that I’m telling my children the right things.”
The CAPES program is currently operating at Harris Health: Ben Taub Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital and Outpatient Center, Quentin Mease Hospital, and Smith Clinic.
Harris Health System focuses on the delivery of primary care, wellness and prevention services to the residents of Harris County, Texas, through its extensive network of 48 inpatient and outpatient facilities. Harris Health is a recipient of the prestigious National Committee for Quality Assurance designation for its patient-centered medical homes. Harris Health is staffed by physician faculty and residents from nationally ranked medical schools, Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). For more information, visit www.harrishealth.org.