Whether your child’s heart condition is mild or critical, we treat them in a child-focused, healing environment. Your child will get care for their physical, emotional and comfort needs, as well as expert medical treatment.
Our supportive care specialists range from Child Life specialists to nutritionists to neurodevelopmental experts.
Child Life specialists
Child Life specialists focus on your child’s emotional and developmental needs. We work with you and your child so you can feel more in control about your medical experience. We help your child and family members express concerns and ease their fears.
Music, art and animal visits are some of the ways we help. We have playrooms for children staying in the hospital or visiting a clinic. Their siblings are welcome, too. For those 12 and older – including family members – the Teen Zone has video games, computers and arts and crafts.
Read more about Child Life specialists at Seattle Children’s.
Emotional and psychological care
Children who have a serious condition or who are getting major treatment may also have mental health concerns. These may be caused by the condition or treatment or the stress of having a health problem.
Whatever the cause, our team helps your child work through their feelings and emotions and learn coping skills. Your child’s care team will include a social worker and, if needed, a pediatric psychologist. Both are specially trained to help children and teens deal with serious health conditions.
Learn more about Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Seattle Children’s.
Fetal care and treatment
Finding problems early in pregnancy gives you more time to make decisions and plan care.
The cardiologists in our Fetal Care and Treatment Center are able to make fast, accurate prenatal diagnoses. By combining our expertise with the latest technologies, we can detect congenital heart defects as early as 14 weeks after a pregnancy starts.
The center combines obstetric and pediatric specialty care for pregnant people and their families facing complicated pregnancy management or decision making.
Genetic testing and counseling
Some heart conditions are caused by a change (mutation) in a gene. Having a child with a heart defect or related genetic condition increases your chance of having another child with a heart defect. Knowing the risk level may help with family planning and deciding about your child’s healthcare.
Our Cardiac Genetics Program offers consultation, evaluation and counseling before and after your child is born.
If your child was born with a complex congenital heart disease (CHD), they have an increased chance of problems as their brain and central nervous system develop. These problems can affect your child’s thinking, learning, emotions, feeding, speech or language skills.
The experts at our Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic evaluate and treat babies and children with complex CHD who had heart surgery before their first birthday. We provide close follow-up during your child’s first 3 to 5 years of life.
Nutrition and feeding management
Some heart conditions make it hard for your child to get the nutrition they need to grow at a healthy rate. Some children have feeding problems. Others lose interest in eating. Kids may lose or gain weight because of their medicines and other treatments.
The nutritionist on our team helps your child get the nutrition they need to thrive.
Seattle Children’s occupational therapists provide therapy to manage challenges with eating.
Seattle Children’s is a leader in treating pain in babies, children and teens. We base our recommendations for your child on evidence about what works. We partner with you and your child to prevent and relieve pain as completely as possible.
Managing your child’s pain is critical to their healing. That’s why we use pain medicines made especially for children. We use different types of anesthesia and alternatives like acupuncture when those methods will help your child.
Learn more about Seattle Children’s Pain Medicine Program.
Any family whose child has a serious, possibly life-threatening illness may benefit from working with our Palliative Care Program.
Palliative care helps relieve the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It enhances your child’s quality of life through:
- Pain and symptom control
- Emotional support
- Better communication
Learn more about the Palliative Care Program at Seattle Children’s.
Physical and occupational therapy
Through play and exercise, our physical therapists help your child build strength, balance and coordination. Physical therapy can also help reduce pain. Our skills and specially sized equipment help us work with patients from the very smallest babies to young adults.
In our Single Ventricle Program, exercise trainers help improve the physical fitness of kids who have only 1 pumping chamber (ventricle) in their heart that works.
Occupational therapists (OTs) help people learn how to do the tasks of daily life, when a health problem affects abilities like eating. Seattle Children’s has the largest group of OTs in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to working with babies, children and teens.
Our social workers help throughout your child’s care. We have skilled counselors who provide support and information about your child’s diagnosis and the impact a heart condition may have on your family.
Social workers can help you make connections with other families and find community resources. We work closely with psychologists and Child Life specialists.
Learn more about social work services at Seattle Children’s.
Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2515 for an appointment, second opinion or more information.
To make an appointment, you can call us directly or get a referral from your child’s primary care provider. We encourage you to work with your primary care provider or family doctor when coming to Seattle Children’s.
Providers, see how to refer a patient.