Child Life Specialists
Lurie Children’s tries diligently to be sure that the hospital is not a scary environment for our patients and families. A child life specialist is a trained professional who helps children and their families understand and normalize the hospital environment. They are skilled at providing developmentally appropriate support, preparation and therapeutic play opportunities to decrease anxieties associated with being in the hospital.
Lurie Children’s has child life specialists located at our main hospital and also at our outpatient satellite locations who are there to help your child understand their diagnosis or procedure in an age-appropriate way. They also help support siblings, guide families through bereavement and assist in legacy making.
As members of your child's healthcare team, child life specialists partner with families to tailor interventions to best meet each child’s individual needs. They provide:
- Preparation before surgery, exams and other potentially anxiety-provoking experiences by using developmentally appropriate language, books and other teaching materials to reduce stress and increase understanding.
- Medical play by using specially adapted dolls, as well as real and pretend medical equipment, to enhance understanding and clarify misconceptions.
- Help to manage pain and encourage relaxation by offering various techniques such as comfort positioning, guided imagery and deep breathing exercises.
- Procedural support by modeling positive coping strategies using developmentally appropriate items such as bubbles, viewmasters and books.
- Download information about post-catheterization developmental follow-up:
- Developmental play opportunities to promote continued development through age-appropriate activities at the bedside, in play groups and in outpatient waiting areas. View our resources below:
- Sibling support to help siblings understand what is happening, help them work through their feelings and answer their questions about the hospital experience.
- Bereavement support by providing support and resources for grief and bereavement issues.
- Support for children with special needs by individualizing care and adapting the environment for specialized learning and coping. This support occurs with collaboration with our Lekotek program. Please feel free to fill out the survey below prior to your appointment or admission and bring it with you to better inform our staff about your child’s special needs. Patient and Family Coping Questionnaire
- Visual Schedules for Children with Special Needs
Request a Child Life Specialist
To request a child life specialist, call 312.227.3270 or from inside the hospital, ask a member of your medical team to page a child life specialist. We are available seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Please fill out the caregiver survey prior to your appointment or visit to help us better understand your child’s individual needs. Download the Caregiver Survey.
Meet Our Child Life Specialists
Our child life specialists all work in different areas with different units, so their day-to-day tasks can vary greatly. Take a look at their information below to learn which child life specialist might be working with your child.
Rebecca Meyers MS, CCLS • 312.227.3267 firstname.lastname@example.org
Available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Child Life Manager
Emily Rogers, MS, CCLS • 312.227.3274 email@example.com
Available Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. — Outpatient Medical Imaging (main hospital)
Geanine Hunt, M.Ed., CCLS • 312.227.3338 firstname.lastname@example.org
Available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. — 19th floor inpatients, Clinical Research Center, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
Katy Dhein, CCLS • 312.227.3253 KDhein@luriechildrens.org
Available in the Emergency Department: Sunday & Monday 2:30 p.m. - 12 a.m., Tuesday 2:30 p.m. - 10 p.m., Wednesday 12:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. and Thursday 2:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Lauren Schuler, CCLS • 312.227.6286 email@example.com
Available Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. — Special Infectious Diseases Clinic (Lincoln Park Outpatient Center)
Beth K. Ryan, M.Ed., CCLS • 312.227.6398 firstname.lastname@example.org
Available Monday through Wednesday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Clark/Deming Outpatient Clinics, Lekotek Leader
Lori A. Esch, MS, CCLS • 312.227.7925 email@example.com
Available Monday through Friday 6 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. — Westchester Outpatient Clinics
Lura Carstensen, CCLS • 312.227.3294 firstname.lastname@example.org
Available Monday- Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Hematology/Oncology Outpatient Clinic and hematology inpatients
Brittany Smith, CCLS • 312.227.3347 email@example.com
Available Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. — Surgery, Transplant, ENT, Nephrology, Urology, Hepatology, GI
Becca Mitsos, CCLS • 312.227.3273 firstname.lastname@example.org
Available Monday through Friday – 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. — Surgical Services (main hospital)
Megan O'Connell, MS, CCLS • 312.227.3334 email@example.com
Available Tuesday through Saturday – 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. — Pediatric Intensive Care