Virtual Platforms

Virtual Platforms

Katie Taylor
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5097-0.ch017
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Americans spend large portions of their day online. Data shows that there are more than 245 million internet users in the U.S. alone. This data, combined with what we observe in healthcare trends, including tele-med and other virtual options, demonstrates the need for child life services to be available online. This chapter explores the various ways child life specialists can use their skills to support children and families using digital tools. Embracing technology and exploring innovative approaches will only enhance and validate the field of child life.
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As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, new, virtual-based opportunities arose that were modeled after existing programs like music therapy. These new opportunities opened up new possibilities for research in those fields. Nonprofit organizations successfully integrated telehealth into their programming by providing additional online services for children of adult patients in conjunction with their established in-person support. Many, like Project Sunshine, have continued with virtual programming, offering video calls facilitated by volunteers promoting play and normalization activities during hospital stays ( Another organization, JoyRx, supports children's emotional needs through the use of music, offering online jam sessions, lessons, or mini concerts with musicians ( Finding new opportunities for child life specialists to learn about and use the virtual tools available to expand their practice grows each day.The focus on technology and its effect on our society’s ability to communicate and interact has become a crash course in finding answers to the question: How do virtual interventions work? Are they successful?

According to a study in a New York City intensive care unit among those who lost their loved ones, remote family visits to intensive care units evoked feelings of happiness, joy, gratitude, and relief (Sasangohar et al., 2021). Neurological music therapists used telehealth and found they could transfer their services effectively from in-person to telehealth for all domains (sensorimotor, cognitive, and communication), especially when caregivers were involved (Cole et al., 2021).

Providing services virtually expands child life specialists’ ability to reach more than just patients and families who walk through the doors of hospitals or other community-based settings. This dramatic growth in scope can meet the needs of more diverse groups of families who benefit from child life services.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Podcast: Media shared through audio format.

Virtual: Online or Internet-based software.

Telehealth: Healthcare provided online using software.

Blog: Written content shared on the internet.

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