• childlife specialist with patient

    Child life services are available for children staying at the Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital of Savannah. Child life specialists provide psychosocial support services for children and their families.

    Playroom: A Place for Fun and Healing

    Children learn about and experience the world around them through play. Even in the hospital, play is vital. In fact, it's the core of our child life program. Through play, children can explore the hospital and their medical experience, release their fears and emotions, and participate in the normal activities that they would do at home.

    The Willett Children’s Hospital has two playrooms and a teen room for children admitted to the hospital. These inpatient playrooms feature a variety of activities and toys, all donated by generous individuals and organizations. The playrooms provide a safe place, free of medical encounters, where children can escape and have fun. The playrooms are supervised by members of our child life team and volunteers. Toys, books, and games are available for siblings and patients to check out and take back to their hospital rooms. The Alicia Rose Foundation Teen Room is for teen patients who need their own special place to hang out while in the hospital. This room provides age-appropriate activities and entertainment for older children.

    child undergoing oncology treatments
    Pet Therapy

    The child life team coordinates a pet therapy program for children and families staying in the inpatient unit. Handlers bring dogs certified by International Therapy Dogs to the unit to provide a playmate and a pleasant distraction for the children. Pet therapy visits occur at various times throughout the month.

    Special Help for Siblings

    Siblings may feel left out when a brother or sister is admitted to the hospital. Suddenly, all of the attention and concern focuses on the sick child, which can be difficult for siblings to understand. Healthy siblings may show signs of distress if they are separated from their parents while the parents care for the sick child. Here are some helpful ways to promote sibling involvement:

    • Provide developmentally appropriate explanations to the sibling about their brother or sister
    • Display and discuss feelings about the sick brother or sister when siblings are present
    • Encourage communication between siblings via phone, email, or letters
    • Update family members and school personnel so that they may provide extra sibling support
    • Allow siblings to take an active role in the sick child's care when possible
    • Enable sibling visitation when possible
    • Reduce separation between caregiver and sibling
    • As much as possible, maintain a daily schedule and routine for the sibling