Child Life Program


Specialized Hospital Care For Your Child

A hospital can be an overwhelming environment for any patient. For children, it can be extremely stressful and scary. Feelings of fear, confusion, loss of control and isolation can occur and have negative effects on a child’s health and recovery. Orange Regional Medical Center provides a Child Life Specialist to assist and support children and their families while seeking services at our facility.

Our Child Life Program seeks to ease fear and uncertainty by familiarizing young children, adolescents and their families with the hospital experience. The Program is designed to help children through a wide variety of stressful experiences that can overpower their natural ability to cope and heal.

What Are The Benefits Of The Child Life Program?

  • Children who are emotionally prepared for medical procedures experience less fear and anxiety, and will adjust more easily to medical challenges.
  • Children in the hospital who engage in therapeutic play with a trained professional exhibit less emotional distress, increased cooperation, and fewer negative physiological responses.
  • Research shows that Child life interventions can increase cooperation and help to reduce procedural and post-procedural pain.
  • Providing support for family members enhances psychosocial outcomes for young patients. A parent or caregiver’s behavior and anxiety levels are strongly correlated with how a child will respond to hospitalization.

Child Life Specialists work with families and other healthcare providers to prepare children for medical procedures or treatment by:

  • Communicating using language that they understand
  • Reducing anxiety and increasing cooperation through coping strategies
  • Providing distractions and support while enhancing a sense of enjoyment through play
  • Promoting family-centered care

Tours And Information For Pre-Admission

If your child has an upcoming surgery or procedure, contact Child Life to schedule an age appropriate tour specific to the child’s upcoming visit.

A tour is a great way to help children become familiar with the hospital in an individualized, child-friendly way. We suggest that your child bring their favorite stuffed toy or doll as a pretend patient to make it easier to explore the hospital with a specially-trained, certified Child Life Specialist. Through supervised play, your child will be encouraged to take part in a mock procedure using their doll or stuffed toy and real medical equipment.

To schedule a tour, contact our Child Life Specialist at 845-333-5150.

Meet Our Child Life Specialist

Headshot of Michelle Ferguson, ORMC's Child Life SpecialistMichelle Ferguson
Child Life Specialist

Ms. Ferguson works closely with pediatric patients and their families to help them effectively cope with their hospital visit or illness through play, preparation, education, distraction and self-expression activities.

She provides emotional support and encouragement throughout a child's hospitalization while providing information, guidance and education about upcoming tests, surgeries or other procedures to all families members.  Working with an interdisciplinary team that may include physicians, nurses and socialworks, Ms. Ferguson aims to reduce children's fears and anxieties.

Should you have any questions about your stay at Orange Regional Medical Center or about planning to visit a family or friend who is a patient, do not hesitate to contact us at 845-333-1000.

Support Groups & Events For Kids

Explore our upcoming pediatric related support groups, classes and events listed below in our online community calendar. To register or for more information, call 1-888-321-6762