Creating Legacy during the Grief Journey

When faced with sadness and grief, children cope in a variety of ways, based on their development. They typically experience the death of a loved one differently than adults. However, like adults, children benefit from being involved in the grief process in meaningful and healing ways. Siblings of children with life-threatening illnesses or at the end of their life need opportunities to process the grief associated with the loss of their sibling. Certified Child Life Specialists at American Family Children’s Hospital create ways for children to express themselves. Helping families connect with each other during the grief process is one way the Pediatric Palliative Care Team supports the whole family in creating their own meaningful legacy.

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Child Life Services Celebrates 25 Years

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Child Life Services at the American Family Children’s Hospital.  Being here these 25 plus years to see this program grow from two staff to 25, has been nothing short of remarkable, just like our current health care vision.  But truly the word remarkable better reflects the children and families that walk through our doors every day who share their fears, successes and journeys with us.  I am humbled by so many I have had the privilege of working with over the last 25 years to help prepare for their experiences, provide support during procedures and visits, advocate for patient and family centered care, or bring the normalization of play to a very “unnormal” environment.

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Stripes, Spikes and Smiles: A Haircut for Jaxson

Jaxson Trickle gets a haircut in his room at American Family Children's Hospital from cosmetologist Debi Machotka

Jaxson Trickle gets a haircut in his room at American Family Children's Hospital from cosmetologist Debi Machotka

It had been a rough week for Jaxson Trickle.

By all accounts, he was nothing but a champ after having yet another surgery, only five months after undergoing a kidney transplant. But when you’re 7 years old and just want to be at home playing with your Scooby Doo Legos, it’s tough to sit at your hospital room window in a wheelchair, looking out at a gray, rainy morning.

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How to Help this Holiday Season

Four Ways to Help American Family Children's HospitalMany families use the holiday season to teach their children about generosity and giving back to the community. Here are four simple ways your family can make a difference in the lives of the children and families at American Family Children’s Hospital.

 In-Kind Donations

In-kind donations (also known as the Child Life Wish List) are welcome at American Family Children’s Hospital all year long. Donated toys and gifts can provide distraction during a procedure or a clinic waiting area. They are also used to restock our playrooms, celebrate a birthday spent in the hospital or a completion of a treatment.

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Best Kept Secret Career: Child Life Specialist

Child Life Specialists As a child you are always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some kids say policemen or firefighters, doctors, nurses or teachers, but not many say Child Life Specialists. If fact most people don’t even know what a Child Life Specialist is until they experience one. U.S. News and World Report recently identified a Child Life Specialist as one of the “best kept secret careers,” a title that brought more claim to a program we are very proud to be a part of at the American Family Children’s Hospital.

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