The MCH’s Child Life department wins Fellowship Funding for new project

Our Child Life department is in the process of developing a new program for children undergoing radiation treatment. The pilot project was made possible thanks to funding by the Kids Health Link Foundation and the Canadian Child Life Fellowship Awards Committee. Over the next year, a child life fellow will be responsible for creating and implementing an efficient system of preparation and support for patients and families receiving such care.

Approximately 70 MCH patients receive radiation treatment a year, but they must undergo the treatment at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH). This can sometimes lead to anxiety, because patients and families are not familiar with the new space. The program hopes to reduce this fear by better preparing them for the experience. This would mean creating bilingual education resources for the families, all while working in conjunction with the radio-oncology team at the MGH. The child life fellow would act as a liaison between both clinical teams and would travel with the family from the MCH to the MGH to make sure they are comfortable with the new personnel, environment and medical equipment. The radio-oncology team would also benefit from learning how to use developmentally appropriate tools and coping strategies when dealing with young patients and their families.

“Our goal is to create a link between both centres and this will only strengthen once we move to the Glen due to our closer proximity to the new Cancer Treatment Centre,” says Marie-France Haineault, coordinator of Child Life Services at the MCH. 

The fellowship program is scheduled to begin in May 2014.