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Child Life On Call: Parents of children with an illness or medical condition share their stories with a child life specialist

Jun 22, 2022

Episode 126 | Supporting Children in Hospice

On this week's episode, Shani Thornton, CCLS,  from Child Life Mommy shares how to support children in hospice. Shani wears many different hats in the Child Life world including supporting children in the hospice setting .Shani shares how to connect with children during this difficult time and ways to explain things that are honest and easy to understand. To help children feel more connected during this challenging time she shares some of the meaningful exercises and activities she does to help children cope. 

Connect with Shani:



Click on this link to view the books Shani talked about in today's episode! 

[6:50] Shani talks about working with a local hospice agency to provide support

[8:44] Interventions in the hospice setting 

[10:07] Importance of following the child’s lead. 

[11:05] How children digest information

[13:35] Explaining differences in medication, for illness versus comfort

[15:22] Explaining to children the care team that will be helping

[16:10] Processing hospice care 

[16:30] Using play to help children to understand terminal illness

[18:00] How to explain illness not seen by the eye

[19:17] Importance of validation, security, emotional safety and being seen 

[19:35] Creating fingerprint charms, handprint molds, handprint tree and bracelets to commemorate 

[21:25] Importance of giving parents space to share and how witnessing, validating and listening is key

[22:54] Communication with social worker and hospice agency

[24:40] Additional ways to support the family


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Child Life On Call is a community of parents and professionals that share ideas, stories and resources to help YOU navigate your child’s unique experiences. We give you strategies to support yourself and your family through life’s challenges.  We are so glad you are here.