For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2013
Southcoast Health System welcomes Child Life Specialist to pediatric program at St. Luke's Hospital
NEW BEDFORD, Mass - Southcoast® Health System announced today that Kara W. Levoshko, MS, CCLS, has joined St. Luke's Hospital as a Child Life Specialist.
A Child Life Specialist helps patients and their families make a positive adjustment to hospitalization. In her new role, Levoshko will offer children and their families' emotional support during procedures, coping techniques during stressful situations, and opportunities to help normalize the hospital environment through play.
"Doctors and nurses do a wonderful job, but it's hard to be the person performing a catheter or IV while trying to calm a nervous child and their parents," Levoshko said. "I am an additional resource for them. My job as a Child Life Specialist is to make the hospital environment as pediatric-friendly as possible."
In 2012, Southcoast Hospitals Group entered into a collaboration with Boston Children's Hospital to bring high-quality pediatric care to children and families in the South Coast region. As a result, Boston Children's physicians now see pediatric patients at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford. The addition of a Child Life Specialist to the Southcoast Pediatric Program benefits both the program and the community.
"The Child Life Specialist is uniquely trained to help children through what can feel like scary or difficult procedures," said Brian Sard, MD, Boston Children's on-site Medical Director of Pediatric Services. "Kara has extensive experience and is trained in developmental psychology. This allows her to explain procedures in a way a child can understand based on their developmental level. She assists both by preparing children for what to expect, and distracting them during the procedure where appropriate. By doing so, she makes the medical team's job much easier."
Currently, Levoshko works with children of all ages in the pediatric inpatient unit and the Emergency Department, with plans to expand into other areas.
Levoshko, of Middleboro, is a graduate of Wheelock College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in child development with a concentration in child life, and a graduate degree in leadership and policy with a focus on parent education. Before joining Southcoast, she served as a Child Life Specialist in the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Emergency Department and previously as a Child Life Specialist in the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children pediatric inpatient unit.