News & Stories

Child Life Program Provides Care to Pediatric Patients

Robin Doster and her dog, Bluekey Nose.

Staying at the hospital can be a scary experience for children. Fortunately, Child Life Specialists from the Child Life Program at Cooper are on hand to make the experience less stressful for young patients and their families.

Age-appropriate preparation for tests, procedures and surgery, and emotional support, pain management and coping strategies are available. The program also offers a playroom with toys, games and activities, and additional therapeutic services such as animal-assisted therapy, and visits from Bumper T Caring Clowns.

Owner Robin Doster and her dogs, Ginger and Bluekey Nose, are among the regular visitors at the Children’s Regional Hospital. Every week, either Ginger or Bluekey Nose come bounding into the hospital with Robin to visit and cheer up patients with their tricks. Ginger will grab a tissue after a child sneezes and give high fives.

“Having that furry, friendly face come next to the bed brings so much joy to our patients,” Brittany Spaeth, Child Life Coordinator at Children’s Regional Hospital, said. “Staff members have told me that they have seen patients, who have been wincing and writhing from pain, almost instantly relax and begin to forget about the pain, when one of the dogs comes into the room.”

Each year the New Jersey Chapter 1 Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club comes to the Children’s Regional Hospital to bring toys, games and other comfort items to the pediatric patients. On April 21, the 75 Blue Knights pulled up to the Roberts Pavilion on their bikes where they were greeted by four patients and Child Life Program staff members. The club donated toys and $600, which Cooper will use to purchase DVDs for the children.

“The roar of all the motorcycles as they pull into the circle always gets the kids so excited,” Spaeth said. “We’re so appreciative that they come every year. The toys that they bring to the patients make their hospital stay better. The money that they donate will go toward improving the services that we offer at Cooper.”