Located on the second floor.

Artists in Residence

The Arts in Healthcare Initiative, established by the UB Center for the Arts, brings arts programming to the patients, visitors, and staff at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

The arts transform the hospital environment by engaging individuals in creative activities, enhancing the healthcare experience and encouraging physical and emotional well-being.

The Arts in Healthcare Initiative is comprised of six professional Artists in Residence working at Oishei Children’s Hospital with extensive experience in writing, music, dance, theater and the visual arts from Buffalo's vast cultural community. Artists work daily with the hospital population in waiting areas and playrooms as well as at the bedside and intimate patient care areas. Artists facilitate the creative process, allowing for enhanced communication, personal expression, understanding, distraction, and healing.

For more information please visit the Arts in Healthcare Initiative website.

Child Life Program

The role of the Child Life Department is to provide support, facilitate coping, minimize emotional trauma and encourage normal growth for infants, children and adolescents who are hospitalized. The department’s goal is to promote positive hospitalization for children and their families. Child Life Specialists help children and their families cope with fear and anxiety that accompany with medical encounters.

The Child Life Specialists can prepare your family by:

  • Explaining and demonstrating medical equipment
  • Using a doll to teach about a procedure
  • Showing pictures or video of where you or your child will be during surgery
  • Providing a Surgical tour most Saturdays to prepare for a scheduled surgery

Child Life Specialist with patientChild Life Services offers:

  • Emotional Support
  • Procedural Accompaniment
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Pre-Procedural Teaching
  • Pre-Admission Teaching
  • Pre-Admission Hospital Tour
  • Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  • Group Activities/Parties in Playrooms
  • Patient Activities Provided at Bedside
  • Medical Play
  • Holiday/Birthday Celebrations
  • Special Guests and Entertainment

Standards for Personnel

A Child Life Specialist is academically prepared at the Bachelor’s Degree level with supervised experience in the health care setting.

Child Life in-hospital staff

Dena Sterns, Deb King, Tara Young, Sue Mirabella, Melanie Mercurio, Brianne Smith, Molly Eshbach and Kersten Zwierlein.

Office number

(716) 323-1520

Learn more about the Child Life Department and also for internship opportunities please click here.

Spiritual Care

Our purpose is to care for the spiritual and faith based needs of families and patients, as well as employees and volunteers, while they cope with the emotional and spiritual impact of illness, injury, or crises. Call (716) 323-1540.

See Spiritual Care for a list of the availability and services offered at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Patient and Family Centered Care

Mother and baby photoPartnership is the foundation of Patient and Family Centered Care. A partnership between health care providers and families is the best way to meet the needs of those we care for.

Patient and Family Centered Care acknowledges that families are the center of patient’s lives. Patients, families and staff are working together as a team to provide the very best care for your loved one. Families provide the support and encouragement that patients need.

Patient and Family Centered health care providers recognize that families are experts on their own children, and that families can give health care providers information about the best way to work and communicate with their family member.

Core Principles of Patient and Family Centered Care

  • Dignity and Respect: Care providers listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Providers incorporate patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds into care planning and delivery.
  • Information Sharing: Health Care Providers communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that support them and are useful. Patients and families receive timely and accurate information so they may effectively participate in care and decision making.
  • Participation: Care providers encourage patients and families to participate in care and decision making at the level they choose.
  • Collaboration: Patients, families and health care providers working together on delivery of care, policy and program development, and professional education.

Patient and Family Centered Care is...

  • Patients and families involved in making decisions about their child’s care.

  • Cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs are honored.

  • Families are reconnected with their loved ones as soon as possible after surgery or other procedures, and there is frequent communication while they are apart.

  • Hospital directional signs are easy to understand.

  • All staff is friendly and approachable, and answer families’ questions to the best of their ability.

  • Families are greeted when they enter the hospital.

  • Families are taught how to advocate for their children and loved ones, and staff advocate for them when they are unable to do so.

Patient and Family Centered Care Programs

The Family Advisory Council (FAC)

The Family Advisory Council has worked with Hospital leaders since 2005 at a strategic planning level. Members of the Family Advisory Council include staff, administrators, and parents of children of all ages, including former NICU families who are, or have been served by Oishei Children’s Hospital. Council members work on projects that promote our united goal for Patient and Family Centered Care to be integrated throughout the hospital. They provide a family perspective to hospital committees, staff training initiatives, support to parents with children currently in the NICU, and working with staff and administration to design programs that improve the hospital experience for patients and families.

Family Faculty

Members of the FAC participate in staff orientations, providing new nurses and residents with a parent's perspective through panel groups and a home visiting program.

Family Centered Care Coordinator

The Family Centered Care Coordinator is available for staff and families to use as a resource for education, linkages for service needs, and matters related to family centered care, quality and safety.

For further information or assistance about Family Centered Care and the Family Advisory Council please contact McKenzie Mattison, (716) 323-2422,

Patient Management Services - (Discharge Planning and Social Work)

Patient Management Services are present on each unit at Oishei Children's Hospital to meet with patients and families to coordinate the plan of care during the hospital stay as well as to plan transition from the hospital to home. Patient families are welcome to contact the team directly by calling (716) 323-2218, or by asking a nurse to do so, if there are questions about the services listed below or any other needs.

Patient Management Services includes, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assistance in communication between patients, family, and members of the healthcare team to develop a safe discharge plan

  • Coordinating a family meeting involving all members of your child's medical team

  • Coordinating homecare needs and linking patients to services in the community as applicable

  • Coordinating the discharge plan utilizing the insurance company’s case management programs

  • Arranging for appropriate homecare services and durable medical equipment when medically necessary

  • Providing information and referrals to community services for transportation if applicable, financial, legal, counseling, and vocational services

  • Adoption counseling and referral

  • Perinatal bereavement counseling

Stone’s Buddies - Supporting Families Coping with Chronic Illness

Stone's Buddies Logo

Stone's Buddies is a program for chronically ill children at Oishei Children’s Hospital.  Created in memory of former patient Stone Filipovich, the mission of the Stone's Buddies program is to provide a network of resources, support, friendship and fun for the many "frequent flyers" that regularly use our facility. This program is for children with life-threatening illness, as well as the patients who struggle daily with special needs and feelings of isolation due to the nature of their chronic illness.

Our goal is to connect these patients with others in similar circumstances, teach them and their families coping strategies to better deal with the challenges they face both at the hospital and at home, and serve as a bridge between the patients and those in the community who want to help.

Visit Stone's Buddies for program information

Volunteer Services

The Department of Volunteer Services is an integral part of Oishei Children’s Hospital. Our department recruits, orients and trains high quality volunteers ages 15 and older. Volunteer Services requests a minimum of one year commitment from all adult volunteers. This creates consistency and continuity in the services offered by our department. The role of the volunteer is crucial to delivering and maintaining exceptional care to the women, children and families we serve. Volunteers are involved in a variety of hospital services on a daily basis: Information desk reception, playroom and bedside activities, rocking babies, escorting patients, running errands, assisting in the recovery room & clinics, as well as various other services.

The role of the volunteer is to offer assistance to the hospital staff and to be a ‘Ray of Sunshine’ to the adult women and littlest patients we serve.

We can be reached:
Monday - Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
(716) 323-2420

See Volunteer Services to learn more.