Child Life and Therapeutic Service
ProCare Hospice and CareOusel Pediatrics provide high-quality Hospice and Palliative Care services to patients facing a life-limiting or life-ending prognosis. ProCare also offers Therapeutic Services, which can help maximize quality of life at the end of life for the patient. These services also provide hands-on, holistic support to family, friends and caregivers as a disease progresses.
Child Life Specialist, Music Therapist and Massage Therapist are members of the patients care team and support the alleviation of physical, emotion and mental stress brought on by a terminal illness.
If you are curious to see if these might help you or your loved one in hospice, call us at 702-380-8300.
1. Child Life Specialist
Dealing with the end of life when a child is involved is heartbreaking. Whether a child in the family has a terminal illness or a close family member is the one nearing the end, children of all ages need special attention during this time.
A Certified Child Life Specialist is a trained professional that provides developmentally-appropriate support for children and families who are impacted by challenging life experiences. They specialize in supporting families coping with illness, hospitalization, death and grief. Support is play-based and uses creative arts, bibliotherapy and other hands-on expressive activities.
A Child Life Specialist can:
- Provide developmentally-appropriate preparation and education about your child’s diagnosis, treatment, medical experiences and illness affects.
- Help children and youth learn and understand what they or their loved ones may experience.
- Use play and expressive activities to help children learn about and develop healthy coping strategies and express feelings.
- Support worries, fears, separation from loved ones and understanding/coping with change.
- Provide guidance and support to adults supporting children including information sharing, talking about illness, coping and death.
- Support adults in having difficult conversations and how to involve children in end-of-life decision making.
- Provide end-of-life, hands-on support, creating a space for children to express their feelings and cope while being included with the goodbye process.
- Support the creation of legacy through creating symbolic items for the family to treasure.
- Follow-up with grief support through bereavement sessions to grieving children.
Child Life Play and Activities:
- Provide opportunities for all patients and siblings to engage in play and activities, no matter their level of ability.
- Support families in opportunities to engage in childhood activities and create memories.
- Access activities in the community and events for families to easily engage in.
2. Massage Therapy
Almost anyone who has received a massage would agree that the power of moving touch can be immensely relaxing. However, many people might not realize the soothing power that massage can bring. This is especially true at the end of life, for patients who are bedridden or have limited mobility.
Our Licensed Massage Therapists are a core part of the hospice care team. They work in conjunction with the nurses and physicians to make sure the massage treatments fit in with each patient’s individualized Care Plan.
The power of touch can provide a feeling of relaxation and comfort, especially if a patient feels isolated or anxious. Many hospice patients experience physical and emotional improvements after massage therapy is incorporated into their routine.
Some of the physical symptoms that can be addressed through Massage Therapy include:
- Muscle tension and stiffness
- Muscle spasms
- High blood pressure
- Tension-related headaches
- Improve blood flow in bedridden patients
Often, specific illness symptoms or side-effects can be addressed (such as soreness or swelling) once discussed with the therapist and nurse.
Emotional symptoms that Massage Therapy can address include:
- Mental stress
- Lack of sleep
- Need for caring, nurturing touch
We are proud to have some of the most caring and skilled Massage Therapists in the Valley on our staff.
3. Music Therapy
Music plays many roles in our lives. From motivation at the gym and setting the mood for a party to weddings and graduations, music is woven into the fabric of the human experience. At the end of life, that same music can become a powerful tool for physical and emotional well-being.
Music therapy is an evidence-based practice implemented by a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) which addresses individualized, functional, non-musical goals for persons of all ages through the therapeutic use of music. Music Therapists assess patients and work with the interdisciplinary team to develop a plan of treatment. Music Therapy goals typically address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and/ or social needs of patients.
A music therapist has completed an approved university music therapy program and passed the national examination by the Certification Board of Music Therapists. In Nevada, music therapists are also licensed through the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
A Music Therapist Can:
- Assist in decreasing perception of pain/ discomfort through individualized interventions
- Address anxiety/ anxiety management/ positive coping
- Creatively facilitate family communication/ interaction
- Reduce social isolation
- Provide opportunity to express and process emotions
- Work with the interdisciplinary team to address other therapeutic goals (physical, respiratory, safety, etc.).
- Create opportunities for reminiscence, life-review, and legacy work
- Support positive experiences and memory making for patients and their families
Music Therapy Interventions Can Include:
- One-on-one, family, or group sessions
- Active music listening
- Lyric analysis
- Therapeutic Singing
- Therapeutic Instrument Play
- Music assisted relaxation
- Music assisted reminiscence/ life review
- Sensory stimulation through music
- Legacy work
Reference: American Music Therapy Association, 2021
4. Paws of Love Pet Program
For anyone who’s owned a pet, they know first-hand the unconditional love animals bring to their humans. Animals can bring powerful emotional and physical support to someone who is dying. An animal companion can reduce blood pressure and pain symptoms, and provide relief from anxiety, boredom and loneliness.
If a patient is no longer at home, they may benefit from visits from our Paws of Love volunteers. Their pets are trained to provide comfort and a welcome distraction from an illness. We see time and again that they leave their patients (and anyone else lucky enough to be around) less isolated, more relaxed, and often smiling.