When a parent, grandparent or other adult family member is undergoing cancer care, children sometimes wonder about the medical environment loved ones visit and the roles of people who care for them. The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a Saturday morning program for children ages 5-12 years that helps take the mystery out of hospitals and what people who work there do for patients.
Our “Come & Visit” Tours begin in the Cancer Center Lobby at 10:00 a.m. Those who arrive a few minutes early have an opportunity to meet “Giddy”, a University of Michigan Health System Therapaw dog. Over the next two hours, children tour areas of the Cancer Center such as:
- The Patient Education Resource Library
- An exam room
- An infusion unit designated just for the tour
- The Voices Art Gallery
The tour group does not visit infusion units or other areas of the Cancer Center where patients are receiving care.
Children meet members of the medical team and become acquainted with roles of Cancer Center staff:
- Doctors and nurses
- Social workers
- Cancer Center volunteers
- Others, as available.
The tour group also learns about the “helping hands” of Cancer Center staff by viewing a child friendly, animated presentation. Finally, the group participates in an expressive art activity, socializes with peers, enjoys refreshments and receives award certificates and special surprises to take home, all in an environment that is fun and relaxed!
The next “Come & Visit” Tour is planned for the morning of Saturday, February 2. It is necessary to register children for the program no later than one week prior to the program. Registrations are accepted by phoning 1-855-257-3312. Families will then be contacted by a Child Life Specialist before the tour session to further explain the program and answer questions. One adult family member is asked to remain with their child or children throughout the tour program.
The tours are hosted by Families Facing Cancer, a Patient & Family Support Services program made possible by the generosity of donors, and six educational tour sessions are offered throughout the year. A Child Life Specialist, knowledgeable about childhood development and explaining information in age appropriate ways, plans the program and leads the tour sessions.
You can learn more about “Come & Visit” Tours and other Families Facing Cancer programs here.