221:Collaborative care between a Child Life Specialist and Social Worker with Annie Gunning and Haley Thomas at Hope for HIE

Podcast Show Notes

On today’s episode, Katie had the privilege of speaking with Annie Gunning, a Certified Child Life Specialist and Grief Counselor, and Haley Thomas, a Licensed Master Social Worker, on their collaborative efforts to support families at Hope for HIE. Annie and Haley tailor their support to each family’s unique needs, dedicating time to assess and implement the most effective strategies. Under the visionary leadership of Betsy Pilon, Executive Director of Hope for HIE, Annie and Haley are setting new standards in providing exceptional support to the families they serve. 


Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to meet families where they are. 


  • Finding ways to help prepare children for procedures with items you have at home empowers children and their families. 


  • Supporting the non-patient can be very impactful to families, this includes the siblings and parents. 


  • Loss and Bereavement support is crucial to families. Grief is not linear and the community as a whole can be affected by a loss. Annie and Haley support these families through monthly support groups. 


  • Collaborative support from one another professionally can create strong partnerships with the best interest of the family and child at heart.


  • When seeking help in a hospital setting, reach out to the person who makes you feel most comfortable. If they cannot provide the specific support you need, they will know who can and will direct you to the right resource.


Learn more about Hope for HIE here.


 Parent Stories Matter

If you enjoyed this episode, we encourage you to listen to more CLOC episodes where we highlight the experiences of parents navigating the healthcare system. Each story offers valuable perspectives and practical advice on supporting and empowering families during their healthcare journeys.

When parents feel empowered, everyone wins – kids thrive and the care team excels!

Empower Parents & the Care Team with SupportSpot

  • 85% of users report high satisfaction, appreciating the Child Life On Call App’s comprehensive resources and user-friendly interface.
  • 92% of parent users say the Child Life On Call App helped them understand medical procedures and treatment better.
  • 80% of parents believe the Child Life On Call App has contributed to better health outcomes for their child.
  • 73% of parent users believe the Child Life On Call App has made them feel more empowered to advocate for their child in healthcare

Learn more here.

Meet the host: 

Katie Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of Child Life On Call, a digital platform designed to provide parents, kids, and the care team with access to child life services tools and resources. She is a certified child life specialist with over 13 years of experience working in various pediatric healthcare settings. Katie is the author of the children’s book, and has presented on the topics of child life and entrepreneurship, psychosocial care in the hospital, and supporting caregivers in the NICU setting both nationally and internationally. She is also the host of the Child Life On Call Podcast which features interviews with parents discussing their experiences throughout their child’s medical journey. The podcast emphasizes the crucial role of child life services in enabling caregivers both at and beyond the bedside.




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Comfort positions

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Being close to a trusted adult is powerful. It lessens pain and brings comfort when kids need it most. This guide shows you how to keep kids safe, and help them feel supported, during medical procedures. From the Meg Foundation for Pain and Child Life On Call.

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