Cancer diagnosis and treatment is challenging for the most knowledgeable adult patient. For a child, the experience can be even more intimidating and frightening.
Children process information differently than adults, with distinct needs for managing the impact of stress and trauma. A child life specialist understands this unique perspective. Children being treated for cancer at the Burr Proton Therapy Center often interact with child life specialists.
These trained professionals are experts in child development who work in hospitals or other health care settings to help children and families cope with challenging, stressful situations. Easing a child’s fear and anxiety through play, encouraging self-expression, engaging with patients’ siblings, and providing education and resources for parents and other members of the interdisciplinary care team are among the skills child life specialists offer. “Pediatrics is different than treating adults,” says Rachel Bolton, R.N., Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center. “Child life specialists are invaluable.”