child life care

March is Child Life Specialist Month and the Institute is Taking Child Life Care Into the Future

The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s pediatric program is built on the recognition that successful pediatric care involves far more than high-speed particles and advanced physics. Our pediatric program places equal emphasis on the overall well-being of our young patients and their families, ensuring a holistic approach to their healthcare journey.

During the celebration of Child Life Specialist Appreciation Month in March, we had the privilege of spotlighting Jasmine Miller, MA, CCLS, MT-BC, GC-C, a certified child life specialist dedicated to supporting children undergoing medical treatment. Through developmentally appropriate communication, Jasmine helps children comprehend the complexities of their therapy, fostering a sense of understanding and comfort. Learn more about Jasmine’s role.

According to Danny Indelicato, MD, director of the University of Florida pediatric radiotherapy program, “The University of Florida is considered a national leader in integrating child life specialists into the pediatric radiotherapy model. Our patients benefit every day from Jasmine’s innovative ideas and activities. Beyond that, Jasmine understands our academic mission, exploring new technology in her field and educating our families and staff.”

A cornerstone of Jasmine's approach involves play therapy, utilizing personalized methods to alleviate fear and anxiety. Recognizing the vital role of normal childhood experiences, she ensures that children have time to play and simply be kids, a crucial aspect of supporting them during this challenging period.

Gratitude extends to the Climb for Cancer Foundation for its generous grant and the donors to the Children’s Fund and Shirley Tomlinson Proton Pediatric Patient Enhancement Endowment Fund for their support to help enhance the playroom significantly. The addition of an 86” interactive touch screen, complete with educational and sensory software developed by Amazing Interactives, transforms the space into an immersive haven for therapeutic engagement.

We are incredibly grateful to The Climb for Cancer Foundation for its gift to add much-needed enhancements to our playroom. Thanks to this nonprofit's generosity, we can continue to address not only the physical health, but also the emotional and psychosocial well-being of our pediatric patients.

Already in use at the University College Hospital – London, we will be the first proton center to implement this system in the U.S. The interactive touch screen and programming promotes cognitive development, creating an environment where children eagerly anticipate spending time.

“Not only does this interactive gaming wall offer developmental and sensory play for our youngest cancer warriors, but it is also geared towards offering developmentally appropriate education. While we are still in the development phase and are creating resources specific to proton therapy as a whole and our individual center, this system is already loaded with other games—including one where you “zap” cancer cells with a radiation beam,” said Jasmine.

Additionally, there is exciting opportunity for collaboration between Jasmine Miller, the child life team at University College Hospital – London, and the Amazing Interactives team to develop tailored educational content for patients undergoing proton therapy treatment.

Director of Social Services, Tamara Sorrye, LMHC-QS recognizes the benefit of having a child life specialist on the team. “Jasmine does a phenomenal job of helping our pediatric patients understand their diagnosis, what to expect throughout the treatment process (from start to finish) and acclimate to this new, unfamiliar environment by facilitating age-appropriate methods that are not intimidating to the pediatric patient. Jasmine has an admirable, unique skill set, and we are very happy to have her as a part of our pediatric team here at the Institute.”

At the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, we remain dedicated to pushing the boundaries of innovation to enhance the pediatric experience, providing cutting-edge medical care and a supportive and enriching environment for our young patients. “I have no doubt that this will be an invaluable teaching tool for our pediatric patients. I am hopeful that through development of our own educational resources, we will not only decrease the need for anesthesia in our youngest patients, but that these resources can be shared with, and utilized by, other proton centers across the globe that are actively treating pediatric patients,” said Jasmine.


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