The Valerie Fund Children's Center at The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center is getting a brand new face to support our patients. We'd like to introduce you to the new Child Life Specialist, Casey Gilman.
Unfortunately, stress is something everyone can understand. We all have stress in our lives and most likely we would all say we have too much of it. Left unchecked, stress can begin to affect both your mental and physical well-being. October has been designated as National Emotional Wellness Month and this week's blog provides some helpful ways to learn how to slow down and breathe.
While emotional wellness is important for everyone, it is critical for parents and families of children treated by The Valerie Fund. A pediatric cancer or blood disorder diagnosis presents new levels of stress for parents and families and it is imperative that everyone be as healthy as possible - physically and mentally - throughout this process.
For the first time in seventeen years, a new Valerie Fund Children's Center has opened at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Paterson, NJ. The Passaic County-based outpatient facility neighbors the northern New Jersey counties of Morris and Essex where several other Valerie Fund Centers are located.
New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is renowned for its pediatric healthcare services, and is currently home to the only Valerie Fund Children's Center outside the state of New Jersey. According to U.S. News & World Report, New York-Presbyterian consistently makes the magazine's Honor Roll as one of the best hosptials in the nation. The hospital's pediatric hematology-oncology department is led by Dr. Julia Glade-Bender alongside a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, psychologists, educational liaisons, child life specialists and social workers. Dr. Marie Barnett recently joined The Valerie Fund family as the Center's psychologist.
In 1977, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, was the first hospital to support Sue and Ed Goldstein in their mission to provide comprehensive health care to children in our area with pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Forty years later, their dream has come to fruition with the expansion of seven Valerie Fund Children's Centers.
In their book, "Where They Are Now: The voices that cancer & blood disorders couldn't silence," Sue and Ed reflect, "The Valerie Fund Children's Centers- in New Jersey, New York City and the Philadelphia area- evolved into what we had hoped for: institutions delivering expert medical expertise, unconditional support and loving kindness for the children under their care."
A Child Life Specialist is an integral part of the healthcare team yet prior to a pediatric hospital stay many individuals do not know the roles and functions that a child life specialist plays in the health care journey. Their central role is to help young patients and their families cope with the challenges of illness and hospitalization. Their support and advocacy make a profound difference in the families’ ability to maintain a sense of normalcy during this vulnerable time.
Child life specialists understand that the techniques to help children manage the stress and trauma of illness differ from those used to help adults. Moreover, when age-appropriate techniques are used with and taught to children they:
- Heal as quickly as possible;
- Cope better with pain and need fewer sedatives and less pain medication; and
- Develop properly and avoid lasting negative effects on their wellbeing.
Topics: child life