New York Methodist Hospital Establishes Child Life Program

Jan 28, 2016

Brooklyn, NY

New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) has now established a Child Life Program which provides children with the emotional and psychosocial support that helps them and their families cope with inpatient hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room. The Program is led by Gabrielle Marden, a certified child life specialist who collaborates with the medical team to advocate for the needs of the family. A child life specialist can assess each patient and work to minimize the anxiety and stress of illnesses and medical procedures.

Gabrielle Marden with a patient in NYM's pediatric emergency room.

Gabrielle Marden, certified child life specialist and director of New York Methodist Hospital's Child Life Program, with a patient in NYM's pediatric emergency room.

"To children, the Child Life Program manifests itself as a warm and friendly face who reads books with them, plays games with them, and is there for them during a difficult time," said Ms. Marden. "I'm more than happy to just be known to the children I work with as 'the one with the toys and the games!' What might look like a round of 'I Spy' with a patient in the pediatric emergency room can provide the distraction that allows his or her doctor to draw a much-needed blood sample or perform a test while the child's attention is with me."

Other interventions that the Child Life Program can provide in the Hospital include developmentally appropriate preparation for tests and procedures, introductions to positive coping techniques that help deal with illness and hospitalization, and therapeutic play and self-expression activities to promote emotional development and normalize the hospital environment.

"Young patients perceive illnesses and hospital environments differently from adults and they may be fearful or confused," said Pramod Narula, M.D., chairman of the Hospital's Department of Pediatrics. "The services provided by our Child Life Program can ensure that a family's experience of 'healing' at New York Methodist includes both medical care and emotional support for their children."

Additional information about NYM's Child Life Program is available at

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