Support Services and Programs

Child Life Program

The Child Life team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital helps infants, children, youth, and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, distraction and preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, uncertainty and pain. These services are available to patients and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at no extra charge.

Teddy Bear Tours

This is a program offered to patients and families who would like to take a tour of the hospital prior to their surgery. The children receive a teddy bear or stuffed animal to take through the tour with them for comfort and medical play. This programs helps to better prepare the patients and families in advance of what to expect the day of surgery. This reduces fears and anxieties of the patients and family.


teddy bear clinic

Playrooms and Child Life Assistants

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital believes in the power of play to promote positive healing. Our playrooms are the heart of the hospital – a “safe place” where kids can be kids away from tests, needles and treatments. Here, young patients can socialize with other children and enjoy supervised activities such as arts and crafts, playing games and reading. You can find playrooms throughout the hospital.

Clown Therapy

Smart Snippet: Video
Datasource: Lotsy Dotsy Joe D tour      

For more than two decades, Lotsy Dotsy, Joe DiMaggio's resident clown, has been turning frowns into smiles through entertaining activities designed to provide patients and their families with a welcome distraction. Young ones and grown-ups alike enjoy singing songs, blowing bubbles and playing the harmonica with Lotsy Dotsy.

Clown therapy

Hospital Homebound School Program

In partnership with Broward County Schools, a Broward County homebound teacher is on-site during regular school hours to help hospitalized children (K-12) keep up with their schoolwork.

Pet Therapy

One of our most beloved members of the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital team is our four-legged co-worker, Freedom. Freedom is our friendly facility dog that you may spot during your stay here. Visits can be requested by calling the BARK line, 954-265-BARK (2275).

Freedom Therapy Dog

CCTV Programming   

We have our own CCTV programming. We are able to broadcast live events put on by the Child Life and integrative therapy team. We host weekly game shows for the children to tune in from their room and call in to participate. We recently added fun times with Lotsy Dotsy the clown, art therapy and music therapy sessions. This provides our patients who cannot leave the room the opportunity to engage with each other and have fun together.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. (American Art Therapy Association, 2020)

Art therapy services at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital uses the creative and expressive capability of art to help support the social, psychological, emotional, developmental and physical needs of the children and families served. Art-making helps children cope with and adjust to their hospital experience by providing them with a safe and developmentally appropriate way to express themselves.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is the clinical use of music to reach a patient's treatment goals, such as emotional expression & coping, pain & anxiety management, developmental growth and quality of life. Music therapy offers a wide range of services, including instrumental instruction, songwriting, music-assisted relaxation, procedural support and bereavement & legacy building. Music therapists provide developmentally appropriate music interventions to support families and empower children with the space to just be a kid!

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy benefits in a hospital setting are profound. The benefits provided by massage therapy are pain management, reduction of nausea, improved mood, improved sleep patterns, improved mobility, increased relaxation, reduced levels of anxiety, reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, reduction of stress hormones and improved recovery of soft tissue injuries.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga is provided at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for the patients and their caregivers. During each yoga session we provide mild stretching, mindfulness/meditation as well as deep breathing exercises, which help the patient or their caregiver find relaxation and calmness. Practicing mindfulness and taking deep breaths can help reduce stress and anxiety. Incorporating yoga games into the session helps patients stay present and focused, easing any worries.


Clinical aromatherapy has been researched and used to assist with pain, nausea and headaches. This program is used throughout Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to provide an additional service for our patients and families.

Patient and Family Advisory Council

Our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) help us continually improve the services we offer to the community. As council members, they work alongside healthcare professionals to tackle issues that are important to patients and families. With their input, we design programs and services that meet real healthcare needs as patients and families define them. Learn more about the program.

Youth Advisory Council

The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a part of the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), which includes patients age 12 and older. The group meets monthly to contribute information and opinions about many aspects of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The council plans monthly events for the children in the hospital to facilitate socialization and normalization. Learn more about the program.

Real Me Salon

The Real Me Salon is an integral part of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital located within the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Pediatric patients receive personalized consultation and support services relating to self-image, including necessary tips on scalp care after hair loss, beauty and skin care techniques, camouflage makeup and more.


Our Family Resource Center serves as a library for our patients and families with a variety of books. The books are available to patients and families throughout their stay. Bibliotherapy can help lower stress levels and can be used to assist children in coping with hospitalization.

Special Needs Program

We are in the beginning phase of “CATCH the love: Creating a Therapeutic Calming Hospitalization”. This program will help us better individualize our care for children with special needs. The start of this program will be in our Surgical Services Department.

Volunteer Program

This is a rewarding way to help children while also showing your support and appreciation of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. Being a volunteer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is a great way to get involved. Volunteers make a tremendous impact in the lives of our patients and their families. There are many volunteering opportunities available at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

Support Groups

We offer support groups for patients and families with chronic illnesses.This is a great opportunity for patients and families to connect and provide support for each other. We also offer support groups every month for families in the community. This offers the community an opportunity to feel connected to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and connect with other families in the community.


Patients at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital rely on the generosity of our community to brighten their hospital stay. Your donation of new, unused, unwrapped gifts helps create a comfortable, healing environment. For more information please see our wish list.

Child Life Students

If you're a child life student, please explore the unique learning opportunities at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.