Visiting the hospital emergency room at any age can be a frightening experience, especially when you’re just 3 years old. But, fortunately, children like Avery Pilcher of Birmingham will find some very special friends in the Children’s of Alabama emergency department: certified child life specialists.
Child life specialists are members of the health care team who are professionally trained in understanding and meeting the unique needs of children and teens in the healthcare environment. They recognize that illness and hospitalization are stressful events in the lives of children and their families, so the child life specialists use familiar and fun activities to help children feel less anxious about their fears and concerns related to unfamiliar surroundings, people and events. The child life specialists at Children’s of Alabama work with patients throughout the hospital, including the emergency department.
When Avery was in the Children’s ER to receive stitches after falling down some stairs at school, her mom said she was very nervous and scared -- until a child life specialist named Chelsea entered the room. “Chelsea immediately put Avery at ease,” her mom, Ali, said. “Chelsea patiently and kindly showed Avery every single part of getting stitches, brought her a princess tea set, and sat with her while the doctor applied the ‘tickle band aids.’ Avery did spectacularly well throughout the entire procedure, and I attribute that 100 percent to Chelsea! She was such an angel, and my husband and I were so appreciative of her. We are so thankful that Chelsea was there for all of us!”